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James Weldon Johnson

PennSound James Weldon Johnson page editor: Chris Mustazza

The Speech Lab Recordings: Reading at Columbia University, December 24, 1935

These recordings were made on December 24, 1935 at Columbia University, recorded by Barnard professors George W. Hibbitt and W. Cabell Greet, lexicologists and scholars of American dialects.

For more information see Mustazza's "James Weldon Johnson and The Speech Lab Recordings" in Oral Tradition.

PennSound wishes to thank the staff at Columbia's Rare Book & Manuscript Library, especially Thai Jones, Jennifer Lee, Devon Maeve Nevola, Jane Siegel, and Karla Nielsen, for helping us to make these recordings available.

These recordings are made available thanks to permission from Jill Rosenberg Jones and the James Weldon Johnson estate.

Editor's note: The recordings here were originally made on aluminum platters. They were subsequently dubbed to reel-to-reel tapes by the Library of Congress in the 1970s. These digitizations are made from the reels, which are stored at Columbia University. I made the decision to present the recordings in the order in which Columbia numbered the aluminum platters, which may or may not be the same sequence used by Johnson and Hibbitt, except for where I reordered them to keep parts of the same poem together. Sequence numbers, as well as record numbers, are available in the file names. --Chris Mustazza, University of Pennsylvania
  1. The Creation (4:25) (text)
  2. Go Down Death (4:50) (text)
  3. Ma Lady's Lips Am Like De Honey (text)
    1. take 1 (2:18)
    2. take 2 (1:56)
  4. Answer to Prayer (2:16) (text)
  5. Los Cigarillos (1:10) (text)
  6. Teestay (1:01) (text -- scroll down)
  7. Sunset in the Tropics (1:00) (text -- scroll down)
  8. Comments on "Los Cigarillos," "Teestay," and "Sunset in the Tropics" (0:21)
  9. O Southland (1:13) (text)
  10. We to America (0:39) (text)
  11. Mother Night (1:07) (text)
  12. My City (1:17) (text -- scroll down)
  13. Brothers (4:36) (text)
  14. Sence You Went Away (1:24) (text)
  15. Comments on "Ma Lady's Lips Am Like De Honey" and "Sence You Went Away" (0:24)
James Weldon Johnson Record Image James Weldon Johnson Record Image James Weldon Johnson Record Image

These sound recordings are being made available for noncommercial and educational use only. © 2014 Estate of James Weldon Johnson. Distributed by PennSound.