Johnson (1860-1944) was an attorney who became the first African-American member of the New York state legislature when he was elected to the New York State Assembly in 1917. He was born enslaved, the 11th of 12 children, and received his earliest education from a freed black woman, Nancy Walton. After emancipation he attended school in Raleigh, NC under the direction of two white teachers who introduced him to the Congregational church in which he was active for the rest of his life. In 1879 he entered Atlanta University and later worked as a school principal from 1883-91. In 1891 he wrote 'A School History of the Negro Race in America', the first textbook by a black author to be approved by the North Carolina State Board of Education, which established his reputation as a scholar and historian, and in that same year he earned a law degree at Shaw University. Thereafter he practiced law whilst also teaching at Shaw, and from 1899-1907 was assistant to the US Attorney for eastern NC and became active in the Republican Party. He was the author of several non-fictiion works and numerous articles and pamphlets, and in this utopian novel published in 1904 he predicted that anti-black discrimination would end within a century.