Georgia Douglas Johnson- September 10, 1880-May 14, 1966
- Born in Atlanta, Georgia
- An American poet, playwright, song writer and part of the Harlem Renaissance
- Graduated from Atlanta University; worked as a school teacher in Marietta, GA and principle in Atlanta
- In 1902 she lived in Cleveland and attended the Oberlin Conservatory of Music
- On September 28, 1903 she married prominent Republican party member Henry Lincoln Johnson
- In 1910, her husband was appointed Recorder of Deeds under president William Howard Taft and they moved to Washington, D.C. This is where Johnson started writing poetry.
- She published her first poem in 1916 in the NAACP’s Crisis magazine.
- In 1918 she published her first volume of poetry “The Heart of a Woman”
- Her husband died in 1925 and she struggled finding temporary jobs to support herself and their two sons, both of which she sent to Ivy League schools
- After her husband died she became famous for holding “Saturday Salons”, supposedly at the insistence of Jean Toomer.
- Langston Hughes, Jean Toomer, Alain Locke and Angelina Weld Grimke all attended her meetings.
- All of these people were major contributors to the New Negro Movement
- During WWII Johnson found it difficult to publish writing that had a political message.
The Heart of a Woman
The heart of a woman goes forth with the dawn,
as a lone bird, soft winging, so restlessly on,
Afar o’er life’s turrets and vales does it roam
In the wake of those echoes the heart calls home.
The heart of a woman falls back with the night,
And enters some alien cage in its plight,
And tries to forget it has dreamed of the stars
While it breaks, breaks, breaks on the sheltering bars.
-This first volume of poetry was written about themes meaningful to women. This was the introduction to the volume. In this poem, the woman is unable to find her place in the world, and becomes attracted to withdrawing from the harsh environment surrounding her. This centers around the pain and oppression surrounding women.