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Civil rights leader’s Berkshire writing cabin is eyed for preservation

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GREAT BARRINGTON (AP) — A New Jersey couple is working to preserve a crumbling hilltop cabin in Western Massachusetts where the civil rights leader James Weldon Johnson wrote one of his most famous works.

The Berkshire Eagle reports Rufus Jones and Jill Rosenberg-Jones purchased in 2011 a summer home on a 5-acre property in Great Barrington that once belonged to Johnson. They’re now turning their attention to saving the cabin where Johnson wrote ‘‘God’s Trombones,’’ a 1927 book of spiritual poetry.

Johnson was an early leader of the NAACP and also a college professor, diplomat, and songwriter. He died in 1938.

Jones and Rosenberg-Jones say the cabin perched in an ancient hemlock grove has fallen into disrepair and could cost hundreds of thousands of dollars to restore.

The couple created a foundation in 2016 to help keep Johnson’s legacy alive.