Words of Promise

A Story about James Weldon Johnson

From the Series Creative Minds Biographies

  • Interest Level: Grade 4 - Grade 8
  • Reading Level: Grade 5

A teacher and principal, a lawyer, an entertainer, a diplomat, and a writer, James Weldon Johnson spent his entire life working to help African Americans gain the rights and respect they deserved. The first black chief executive of the NAACP, Johnson lived from the end of Reconstruction in the South through the exciting years of the Harlem Renaissance. He spent his life keeping the promise of equality alive, not only through his actions but through his words—“Lift Every Voice and Sing. Facing the rising sun of our new day begun, Let us march on till victory is won.”

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Interest Level Grade 4 - Grade 8
Reading Level Grade 5
Copyright 2006
Publisher Lerner Publishing Group
Imprint Millbrook Press ™
Language English
Number of Pages 64
Publication Date 2005-08-01
Text Type Narrative Nonfiction
BISACS JNF007020, JNF007070
Dewey 818'.5209
Graphics 1-color illustrations
Dimensions 5.875 x 8.5
Guided Reading Level S
ATOS Reading Level 6.0
Accelerated Reader® Quiz 100956
Accelerated Reader® Points 1.0
Features Afterword, Author/Illustrator note, Bibliography/further reading, Index, Reviewed, Table of contents, and Teaching Guides

Author: Jodie Shull

Illustrator: Ken Stetz

Lerner eSource™ offers free digital teaching and learning resources, including Common Core State Standards (CCSS) teaching guides. These guides, created by classroom teachers, offer short lessons and writing exercises that give students specific instruction and practice using Common Core skills and strategies. Lerner eSource also provides additional resources including online activities, downloadable/printable graphic organizers, and additional educational materials that would also support Common Core instruction. Download, share, pin, print, and save as many of these free resources as you like!

Creative Minds Biographies

Meet some of the world’s most creative minds! Written in story format, these episodic biographies give clear, straightforward accounts of historical figures’ lives. Each true story is accompanied by black-and-white illustrations. View available downloads →


MultiCultural Review

“Designed for grades four through eight, each volume is written in a story format and offers information about some of the world’s most creative minds. . . Words of Promise tells the student that Johnson was the first black chief executive of the NAACP. . . He lived his life working to help African Americans receive equal rights and the respect they deserved.”
Multicultural Review