Jacksonville Turns 200: James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson was born in Jacksonville in 1871.

He was an educator, but also a poet. Johnson served as principal of the Stanton Institute.

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On Feb. 12, 1890, he performed “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” at the school for Booker T. Washington as part of a celebration of for Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.

The park across from City Hall was named for him in 2020.

Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing Park in LaVilla is under construction at the site of the home where Johnson, at Lee and Houston streets.

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Words from one of his poems will be on the side of the house and half the park will be elevated higher and the rest – literally lifted.

It’s expected to be completed in Fall 2022.

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