Francis Hall Johnson

JOHNSON, Francis Hall. b. Athens, Georgia, 12 March 1888; d. New York, 30 April 1970. African-American composer, arranger, violinist, author, and choral director, Johnson was the fourth of six children, born to William Decker (1842–1909), an ordained minister in the African Methodist Episcopal church and a college president, and Alice Virginia (née Sansom, b. 1857), enslaved until the age of 8, who entered Atlanta University (now the Atlanta University Center) at age 14. A strong proponent of the Negro spiritual, Johnson’s career centered on advocating for the preservation and proper interpretation of African American music as it had been performed under the era of slavery. Along with...

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