The autobiography of James Weldon Johnson who was was a leading American author, poet, early civil rights activist and a prominent figure in the Harlem Renaissance. He is probably best remembered for his writing, which included novels, poems, and collections of folklore. He was one of the first African-American professors at New York University. During his six-year stay in South America he completed his most famous book The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man which was published anonymously in 1912. It was only in 1927 that Johnson admitted his authorship - stressing that it was not a work of autobiography but mostly fictional.