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The Quest That’s Just Begun

The battle was first waged over the right of the Negro to be classed as a human being with a soul; later, as to whether he had sufficient intellect to master even the rudiments of learning; and today it is being fought out over his social recognition [...] You are young, gifted, and Black. We must begin to tell our young, “There’s a world waiting for you.” Yours is the quest that’s just begun.

-James Weldon Johnson, an American author, lawyer, and politician, first African-American secretary of the NAACP, who was born today in Florida in 1871. An active member of the public sector, Johnson worked as an educator, political adviser, ambassador, lawyer, and Harlem Renaissance poet before joining and finally leading the NAACP. He crusaded for equal rights through peaceful protest and inspired generations to come with his calm refusal to accept social injustice. Happy Birthday, Mr. Johnson!

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