Sondra K. Wilson, Ph.d

Sondra Kathryn Wilson, Ph.D. (19xx-2010) was the pre-eminent James Weldon Johnson scholar for much of her career. Born in Columbia, SC, Sondra attended Elizabeth City State University, where she was awarded a Bachelor of Arts. Dr. Wilson went on to earn two Masters degrees and a doctorate from Columbia University. Dr. Wilson lived in Harlem during her time in New York City. During this period, Dr. Wilson was a senior associate at the W.E.B. Dubois Institute at Harvard University, founder and president of the James Weldon Johnson Foundation, Inc., and executor of the James Weldon Johnson literary estate. In addition, she was a director of research at the NAACP. She also worked as director of research in the national office of the NAACP.

Dr. Wilson was responsible for bringing all of Johnson’s books back into print as well as an extensive collection of his essays, poetry and editorials. Dr. Wilson was the executor of the James Weldon Johnson literary estate until her untimely death in 2010.

In addition to bringing Johnson’s works back into print, Dr. Wilson was the author of many critically acclaimed books including:

  • Meet Me at the Theresa: The Story of Harlem’s Most Famous Hotel. True to her craft, this chronicle of life among black artists, scholars, athletes and politicians is a rigorously researched and delightful history of this unique, glamorous gathering place.

  • The Crisis Reader: Stories, Poetry, and Essays from the N.A.A.C.P.'s Crisis Magazine

  • The Opportunity Reader

  • The Messenger Reader

  • Lift Every Voice and Sing: A Celebration of the Negro National Anthem; 100 Years, 100 Voice

  • In Search of Democracy: The N.A.A.C.P. Writings of James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, and Roy Wilkins (1920-1977)

  • The Selected Writings of James Weldon Johnson: New York Age Editorials (1914-1923)

  • The Selected Writings of James Weldon Johnson: Social, Political, and Literary Essays