Converting God's Trombones: A Presentation of Dance and Poetry

Faith Sayles' Honors Presentation

Last night, Faith presented her senior project for the Honors Program. 

James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was an African-American poet, author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist.  He is best known for writing “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”

As a child, I was given the Clay Classics “God’s Trombones” which features three of Johnson’s poems, and I fell in love with his words. His complete work is “God’s Trombones – Seven Negro Sermons in Verse” (published 1927), though there is an 8th poem that is a prayer in verse.

For this project, I chose three of his poems to analyze and then developed three dances inspired by those poems. Eventually, I would like to analyze all of the poems in “God’s Trombones” and create an entire concert inspired by his work.


Poster design by Alena Nead

Poster design by Alena Nead