Fenton Johnson

Fenton Johnson

About Fenton Johnson

Fenton Johnson was an African-American poet and writer considered as one of the first Black American revolutionary poets and a forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance. He published his first collection of poetry, A Little Dreaming in 1913. The collection was a self-published work, along with his next two collections, Visions of the Dusk (1915) and Songs of the Soil (1916). Between the release of his first and second collection of poetry, Johnson moved to New York, where he attended the Pulitzer School of Journalism with the financial support of a benefactor. Following the release of his third book of poetry, Johnson moved back to Chicago, where he became one of the founding editors of The Champion in 1916. The Champion was formed in conjunction with Henry Bing Dismond, his cousin, who was also an aspiring poet and popular athlete, one of the few African-American college graduates chosen for officer training with the Army's Eighth Illinois Regiment at Camp Des Moines in 1918. The publication focused on black achievements and was published monthly. Two years after founding The Champion, in 1918, Johnson went on to found The Favorite Magazine, subtitled The World’s Greatest Monthly, with Dismond.
The Favorite Magazine published a few of Johnson's poems, and around this time Johnson's short stories were also being published in The Crisis. In addition to the short stories published in The Crisis, Johnson published his own collection of short stories entitled Tales of Darkest America in 1920. In the same year, he published a book of essays entitled For the Highest Good. One of his most famous poems, Tired, was published in 1919 in Others and it was also published in The Book of American Negro Poetry in 1922, among other poems. Johnson completed or nearly completed a fourth collection of poems entitled African Nights, but he did not succeed in publishing the collection.

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