State of Maine Proclamation


June 1, 2022

WHEREAS, An Act To Create a James Weldon Johnson Annual Observance Day and an Observance Task Force was enacted in Maine on June 20, 2021, to honor the life and perpetuate the legacy of one of our nation’s great Civil Rights leaders, that of the author, educator, journalist, lawyer, and diplomat James Weldon Johnson; and

WHEREAS, this prolific member of the Harlem Renaissance made significant contributions to the preservation and development of African American cultural heritage through his poetry, fiction, autobiography, anthologies, and in collaboration with his brother, J. Rosamund Johnson, wrote over 200 songs for Broadway as well as “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” widely considered to be the Black national anthem; and

WHEREAS, James Weldon Johnson broke many barriers as the first African American admitted to the Florida Bar, the first African American Field Director and Executive Secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, and the first African American to serve as U.S. Consul to Venezuela and Nicaragua; and

WHEREAS, James Weldon Johnson found solace from the endless struggle for racial justice and his extraordinarily active life as an artist among the pines and rocky shores of Maine; and

WHEREAS, it was following a tragic accident that took place in Wiscasset, Maine on June 26, 1938 that this Jacksonville, Florida native succumbed to his injuries; and

WHEREAS, observing James Weldon Johnson Day encourages Mainers to learn more about both James Weldon Johnson and our state’s history, including the many contributions of African Americans dating back to before statehood; and

WHEREAS, in accordance with 1 M.R.S. § 150-Q, June 17th of each year is designated as James Weldon Johnson Day in honor of writer and civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson;

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Janet T. Mills, Governor of the great State of Maine, do hereby proclaim June 17, 2022 as Maine’s Inaugural James Weldon Johnson Day

James Weldon Johnson Day

and I urge all citizens to observe this day in suitable places with appropriate ceremony and activities.

In testimony whereof, I have caused
the Great Seal of the State to be
hereunto affixed GIVEN under my
hand at Augusta this first day of
June Two Thousand Twenty-Two

Official Seal of the State of Maine

  • Signature of Shenna Bellows
  • Shenna Bellows
  • Secretary of State
  • Signature of Janet Mills
  • Janet T. Mills
  • Governor