Upcoming Black History Posts
  • Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority
  • Delta Sigma Theta Sorority
  • Morgan State University
  • Richard Wright
  • Thelma ‘Butterfly’ McQueen
  • Robert H. Sengstacke
  • Earl Lloyd
Categories

Lift Every Voice and Sing

lift“Lift Every Voice and Sing” — sometimes referred to as “The Negro National Hymn” or ” The Black National Anthem”— is a song written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871 – 1938) in 1899 and set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873 – 1954) in 1900.

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was publicly performed first as a poem as part of a celebration of Lincoln’s Birthday on February 12, 1900, by 500 school children at the segregated Stanton School. Its principal, James Weldon Johnson, wrote the words to introduce its honored guest Booker T. Washington. The poem was later set to music by Johnson’s brother John in 1905.

In 1939, Augusta Savage received a commission from the World’s Fair and created a 16-foot plaster sculpture called Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing which was destroyed by bulldozers at the close of the fair. 

In Maya Angelou’s 1969 autobiography, I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings, the song is sung by the audience and students at Maya’s eighth grade graduation, after a white school official dashes the educational aspirations of her class.

In 1990, singer Melba Moore released a modern rendition of the song, which she recorded along with others including R&B artists Anita Baker, Stephanie Mills, Dionne Warwick, Bobby Brown, Stevie Wonder, Jeffrey Osborne, and Howard Hewett; and gospel artists BeBe & CeCe Winans, Take 6, and The Clark Sisters, after which, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” was entered into the Congressional Record by Del. Walter Fauntroy (D-DC),.

In 2008, jazz singer Rene Marie was asked to perform the national anthem at a civic event in Denver, Colorado, where she caused a controversy by substituting the words of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” into the song. This arrangement of the words of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” with the melody of “The Star Spangled Banner” became part of the titular suite on her 2011 CD release, “The Voice of My Beautiful Country”.

On January 20, 2009, the Rev. Joseph Lowery, who was formerly president of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference, used a near-verbatim recitation of the song’s third stanza to begin his benediction at the inauguration ceremony for President Barack Obama.

Lyrics

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.

Stony the road we trod, bitter the chastening rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat, have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered;
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered;
Out from the gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou Who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou Who hast by Thy might, led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee.
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee.
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, may we forever stand,
True to our God, true to our native land.

Black AMerica News

Papa John’s Scores Shaq To Help Revive Its ImageNEW YORK (AP) — Papa John’s has a new pitchman: Shaquille O’Neal. The chain says basketball Hall of Famer will appear on TV commercials and promote Papa John’s in other ways. He will also join the com [...]

Harris To Visit Historic Ebenezer Baptist Church In AtlantaATLANTA (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Kamala Harris is set to speak Sunday at the historic Ebenezer Baptist Church in Atlanta, where Martin Luther King Jr. once occupied the pulpit. Other 2 [...]

4-Year-Old With Spina Bifida Walks For First Time As Friends Cheer Her On [Video]All kids have dreams and for Four-year-old Kenydii Parker, that dream was to walk. Kenydii’s father, Kenneth Parker, told PEOPLE she was born with Spina bifida and has been using a wheelchair. But Ken [...]

Vegas Cop Arrested For Recording Man’s Genitals, Making Mentally Ill Man TwerkA Las Vegas police officer will face felony police misconduct charges after she was caught running background checks for her friends, making racist and homophobic jokes and sharing demeaning videos of [...]

Booker Nets 1st 2020 Endorsement From S. Carolina LawmakerCOLUMBIA, S.C. (AP) — Democratic presidential candidate Cory Booker has netted the first endorsement from a sitting lawmaker in the crucial early-voting state of South Carolina. State Rep. John King t [...]

16-Year-Old Accepted Into 9 Law Schools [VIDEO]Via Bossip: Another brilliant Black girl will make you deeply assess what you’re doing with your life. According to Texas Lawyer, Haley Taylor Schlitz is a 16-year-old who’s already on track to gradua [...]

Defense Expert Says Cop Went By The Book In Teen’s ShootingPITTSBURGH (AP) — East Pittsburgh Police Officer Michael Rosfeld did everything by the book in his fatal encounter with an unarmed black teenager outside Pittsburgh last summer, a defense expert says. [...]

Jimmy Carter’s New Milestone: Longest-Lived US PresidentATLANTA (AP) — Nearly four decades after voters unceremoniously rejected then-President Jimmy Carter’s bid for a second term, the 39th president has reached a milestone that electoral math cannot disp [...]

Man Exonerated In Rape Case And Freed After 35 YearsBATON ROUGE, La. (AP) — A man convicted of a 1982 rape in Louisiana‘s capital city walked free Thursday after 35 years in prison, following his exoneration using an updated fingerprint database. The I [...]

ACLU Sues FBI For Records Related To Black Extremists ReportSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The American Civil Liberties Union sued the FBI on Thursday for records related to a divisive 2017 report that said black extremists were on the rise following the shooting deaths [...]

Trump Signs Executive Order To Protect Free Speech On College CampusesPresident Donald Trump signed an executive order Thursday requiring U.S. colleges to protect free speech on their campuses or risk losing federal research funding. The new order directs federal agenci [...]

After Two Crashes, Boeing To Make Safety Feature Standard On Troubled Max JetsBoeing will make standard on its troubled new airliner a safety feature that might have helped the crew of a jet that crashed shortly after takeoff last year in Indonesia, killing everyone on board. T [...]

Keisha Lance Bottoms Announces New Probe Into Atlanta Child MurdersATLANTA (AP) — Atlanta’s mayor and police chief are leading a push to re-examine evidence from a string of murders that terrorized the city’s black community between 1979 and 1981. Mayor Keisha Lance [...]

Cyclone Idai Death Toll Up To 550 In AfricaCHIMANIMANI, Zimbabwe (AP) — Reports from the United Nations and African governments say Cyclone Idai’s death toll has risen to over 550 people. A U.N. official says Cyclone Idai has killed 242 people [...]

Prairie View A&M Student Hospitalized After Roommate Pours Bleach On HerJulisha Wyatt, 19, was taken by ambulance to the hospital after the incident caused minor burns on her body as well. [...]

Defense Asks For Cop’s Acquittal On Murder In Antwon Rose’s DeathPITTSBURGH (AP) — After prosecutors wrapped up their case, the lawyer for a white former police officer charged in the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teenager asked a judge Thursday to issue an ac [...]

Facebook Stored Millions Of Passwords In Plain TextSAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Facebook had stored millions of user passwords in plain text for years, the social media company confirmed on Thursday after a security researcher posted about the issue online. F [...]

Black Man Detained While Moving Into His Own HomeThe Kansas chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union on Thursday asked state officials to investigate after a black man was detained by police while moving into his home, then allegedly harassed f [...]

Brothers Charged After Shooting Pregnant Woman Standing At Bus StopTwo brothers have been charged with aggravated assault with a deadly weapon after shooting a 20-year-old pregnant woman Thursday, according to KHOU. Kwan Tayes, 21, and Nickolaus Collins, 19, were arr [...]

Mississippi Governor Set To Sign ‘Heartbeat’ Abortion LawJACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Gov. Phil Bryant says he’s not worried about lawsuits as Mississippi prepares to enact one of the strictest abortion laws in the nation. The Republican governor is scheduled to s [...]