Tag Archives: James Weldon Johnson

From God’s Breath to “I Can’t Breathe”

Wednesday This past Juneteenth I was flipping through channels and caught MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell quoting James Weldon Johnson’s “Creation.” It was a moving application of poetry to this important moment in time. Mitchell was referring to George Floyd’s plaintive cry “I can’t breathe” before he was suffocated by Minneapolis police. Johnson’s poem, she said, reminds […]

Posted in Johnson (James Weldon) | Also tagged , , , | Leave a comment

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Both Martin Luther King and James Weldon Johnson, in “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” drew strength and courage from the Book of Exodus.

Posted in Johnson (James Weldon) | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

And God Said, “That’s Good”

James Weldon Johnson’s version of the Genesis creation story accords with some contemporary theological theories of God.

Posted in Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Lifting Ev’ry Voice in Church

  Let me end this series of posts concerning racism in America on an up note.  This past Sunday I was singing in the Trinity Episcopal Church choir (in St. Mary’s City, Maryland) and we concluded the service with a rousing rendition of hymn 599, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” also known as the black […]

Posted in Uncategorized | Also tagged , , , | Comments closed


  • Literature is as vital to our lives as food and shelter. Stories and poems help us work through the challenges we face, from everyday irritations to loneliness, heartache, and death. Literature is meant to mix it up with life. This website explores how it does so.

    Please feel free to e-mail me [rrbates (at) smcm (dot) edu]. I would be honored to hear your thoughts and questions about literature.

  • Sign up for weekly newsletter

    Your email will not be shared or sold.
    * = required field

    powered by MailChimp!