Long-time Cottager and Vineyard resident Mildred Louise Johnson Edwards, 93, died in New York city on August 11 after suffering a stroke.

Founder and director of Harlem's prestigious The Modern School, Ms. Johnson Edwards also was a member of one of Harlem's most prominent families.

Her father, composer/musicologist J. Rosamond Johnson, brought Mildred to Shearer Cottage where she slept in a dresser drawer. The following summer she learned to walk on the beach with the help of literary lion-to-be Dorothy West. Her uncle, James Weldon Johnson, was a poet and co-creator with his brother of the Black National Anthem: Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing.

Ms. Johnson Edwards was born May 25, 1914 in Jacksonville, Fla., to Nora Ethel Floyd and J. Rosamond Johnson. The family returned to New York shortly after her birth where Mildred not only attended Ethical Culture and its high school, The Fieldston School, she was the first black student to graduate from the teacher training department of Ethical Culture.

Upon graduation in 1934, she founded The Modern School at West 152nd Street in Harlem. One of the few secular, independent schools in New York serving black children, the school operated until 2007. In addition to the school, Ms. Johnson founded and ran Camp Dunroven from 1933 till 1965. Located in Pine Bush, N.Y., the camp gave black children an experience that the segregation of the times would not otherwise have afforded middle-class children of color.

While Mildred's father is best known for composing Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing, he also wrote Under the Bamboo Tree and Lazy Moon while his compilation of Negro spirituals is still referenced. He also enjoyed success as an actor and director of quartets and choral groups. Her uncle, James Weldon Johnson, not only enjoyed theatrical success with his brother and Bob Cole, he was the first black person to be admitted to the Florida bar since Reconstruction, was the first secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, was consul to Nicaragua and Venezuela. His published works included God's Trombones, Autobiography of an Ex Colored Man, Black Manhattan and The Book of American Negro Spirituals.

Continuing the tradition, Ms. Johnson Edwards wrote and produced over fifty musicals and two books of poetry, both volumes published by daRosas of Oak Bluffs. The recipient of many awards including an award from President Reagan, Mildred was an active member of the Cottagers, the Girls Club, Jack and Jill of America, Inc. and the New York Chapter of Girl Friends Inc.

Ms. Johnson's marriage to Headley V. Edwards of Nassau, British West Indies, ended in divorce. She was predeceased by her brother Donald McQuivey Johnson, but is survived by her daughter, K. Melanie Edwards, and the warm memories of a beautiful life on a beautiful Island.

A memorial service will be held in New York city in October.