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James Weldon Johnson was an American author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist. Johnson is best remembered for his leadership within the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), where he started working in 1917, being chosen as the first black executive secretary of the organization, effectively the operating officer. He was first known for his writing, which includes poems, novels, and anthologies collecting both poems and spirituals of black culture.