Fenton Johnson was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1888. He was a forerunner of the Harlem Renaissance writers and self-published three poetry collections: A Little Dreaming (1913), Visions of the Dark (1915), and Songs of the Soil (1916). He died in 1958.
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The Banjo Player
There is music in me, the music of a peasant people.
I wander through the levee, picking my banjo and singing my songs of the cabin and the field. At
the Last Chance Saloon I am as welcome as the violets in March; there is always food and
drink for me there, and the dimes of those who love honest music. Behind the railroad tracks
the little children clap their hands and love me as they love Kris Kringle.
But I fear that I am a failure. Last night a woman called me a troubadour. What is a troubadour?