The American Fund for Public Service: Charles Garland and Radical Philanthropy, 1922-1941

By Gloria Garrett Samson | Go to book overview

8
It Takes Warm Hearts

JAMES WELDON JOHNSON

The NAACP's executive secretary, James Weldon Johnson, assured that the Fund's policy of "protection of minority groups" would be addressed. A man of many talents, Johnson often found it necessary to subordinate his writing to his activism, but as Roger Baldwin noted, "His worldly activities were superimposed upon the underlying life of the poet, whose greatest joy was in artistic creation."1

Educator, lawyer, diplomat, and administrator, yet always a writer, Johnson seemed able to compartmentalize his life and to live simultaneously in two worlds, each of which would have fully absorbed another man. While Johnson traveled, lectured, lobbied, and administered for the NAACP throughout the 1920s, he also served on the ACLU and Garland Fund boards. In addition, he somehow managed to produce poetry and significant works of nonfiction and commentary.

A year younger than Lovett, Johnson was born in Jacksonville, Florida, to parents who had fully accepted white, middle-class values and culture. He was expected to receive the best education possible for the bright and talented son of a headwaiter and a schoolteacher. While a student at Atlanta University, he spent a summer teaching the children of share- croppers in a rural county south of Atlanta, an experience that shook him from his middle-class isolation into the realization that their problems must also be his. 2 Determined to be "a leader and helper to my race," he returned to Jacksonville after graduation to become the principal of the school he had left only seven years before, briefly published a newspaper that promoted self-help to achieve civil rights, and then turned to the law, gaining admittance to the bar after eighteen months as a part-time clerk to a white attorney. As an educator, editor, and law clerk, he continued to write poetry, collaborating with his brother Rosamond in 1900 to produce an anthem in commemoration of Lincoln's birthday. Their composition, "LiftEvery Voice and Sing,"

-49-

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The American Fund for Public Service: Charles Garland and Radical Philanthropy, 1922-1941
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Recent Titles in Contributions in Labor Studies ii
  • Title Page iii
  • Contents xi
  • Introduction xiii
  • 1 - An Inheritance Rejected 1
  • Notes 3
  • 2 - From Progressivism to Radicalism 5
  • Notes 12
  • 3 - The Aclu and a New Social Order 15
  • Notes 18
  • 4 - Free from the Bonds of Old Institutions 19
  • Notes 24
  • 5 - Workers Will Lay Down Their Tools 27
  • Notes 31
  • 6 - To Promote the Well-Being of Mankind 33
  • Notes 38
  • 7 - Pacifists as Radicals 41
  • Notes 46
  • 8 - It Takes Warm Hearts 49
  • Notes 56
  • 9 - Chosen to Box the Left Compass 59
  • Notes 63
  • 10 - A Sane Enough Radicalism 65
  • Notes 68
  • 11 - Spend It Here and Now 69
  • Notes 73
  • 12 - Scientific, Pragmatic, Efficient 75
  • Notes 81
  • 13 - Emancipation of Their Class in Every Sphere 83
  • Notes 90
  • 14 - Bolsheviks in Patriots' Clothing 93
  • Notes 100
  • 15 - Tempers Flare 103
  • Notes 109
  • 16 - The Rebel Girl Comes Aboard 111
  • Notes 115
  • 17 - Surveying the Left 117
  • Notes 122
  • 18 - Enemies on the Left 125
  • Notes 131
  • 19 - Education and Culture 133
  • Notes 139
  • 20 - Recipient Testimonials 141
  • Notes 147
  • 21 - Negro Work"" 149
  • Notes 155
  • 22 - Passaic 157
  • Notes 162
  • 23 - Vanguard Press 165
  • Notes 169
  • 24 - Friction Within and Without 171
  • Notes 177
  • 25 - Little Left to Repress 179
  • Notes 190
  • 26 - The Manifold Discriminations That Beset Him"" 193
  • Notes 201
  • 27 - Shift to Low Gear 205
  • Notes 216
  • 28 - We Did Quite a Lot of Good 219
  • Notes 224
  • Bibliography 227
  • Index 253
  • About the Author 265
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