YOUNG JIM by Ellen Tarry


Email this review


Young Jim is James Weldon Johnson and this is biographical fiction based on his boyhood in Jacksonville, his high school and college career at Atlanta University, his first regular Job (as principal of the elementary school he had attended) and the moonlighting (as poet, lyricist, journalist) that betokened his later accomplishments. As a story it is slow, stiff and frequently stilted; as an account of the post-Reconstruction South (Johnson was born in 1871) it has episodes that exude poverty, humiliation and quiet determination: see especially Jim's stint as teacher in a school for rural Georgia Negroes. And there is a sense of the boy as father to the man who would win plaudits for his poetry, write the first of the ""protest"" novels, and become a leader in the NAACP--all referred to in an epilogue. This is not engrossing enough for a general audience, but it is the only full-length juvenile on Johnson and it has an old-fashioned honesty and dignity that merit consideration.

Pub Date: Aug. 14th, 1967
Publisher: Dodd, Mead