- He was born on June 17, 1871 in Jacksonville, Florida.
- He earned both a Bachelor of Arts and Master of Arts degrees at Atlanta University in Music.
- After receiving his Bachelor's Degree in 1894, he became Principal of a high school in Jacksonville.
- He began to practice law and drawing on his musical training to collaborate with his brother John in writing songs.
- They produced over 200 songs for the musical stage.
- The stories influenced Johnson's poetry too, and were recorded in his Book of American Negro Spirituals and Gods Trombones.
- He died June 26, 1938.