A true renaissance man, James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) brought his unique voice to America as a lawyer, diplomat, educator, musician and writer. He lived and worked in Harlem during the 1920s and served as the executive director of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) during the flowering of black culture and activism that characterized that time and place. Through his writing, music, and political service, he dedicated his life to improving the status of other African Americans. His composition, "Lift Every Voice and Sing", is sung today as the Black National Anthem.
This stamp is part of the Black Heritage Stamp Series. Initiated in 1978, the USPS continues to issue a stamp featuring a notable Black American every February in conjunction with Black History Month and at other times during the year.