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Wigglytuff
Nov 8th, 2006, 09:14 PM
a celebration!!!!

so SING with me:

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.

:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

Wannabeknowitall
Nov 8th, 2006, 09:43 PM
a celebration!!!!

so SING with me:

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.

:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

Can you tell me what school happens to play Lift Every Voice at graduation?

I'm just wondering because technically it is the black national anthem and I don't know too many schools with public funding that would play that song on its ground.

Wigglytuff
Nov 8th, 2006, 09:48 PM
Can you tell me what school happens to play Lift Every Voice at graduation?

I'm just wondering because technically it is the black national anthem and I don't know too many schools with public funding that would play that song on its ground.

the students sing it after the national anthem we did at elementary, junior high school and high school graduations plus all major ceremonies in those schools. NYC public schools.

i dont understand what you mean by public funding.

Rocketta
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:13 PM
Yeah I've sung that song in school. I've sung it when I went to my orientation for college. The black kids had to come a day earlier than everybody else. I guess there was like 100 of us. The professors told us to sit in the front of the class and when passing another black student on campus to speak because you don't know if you are the first black person they have seen all day. It really was true and really did help a lot of students adjust from going to a predominately black high school to going to a predominately white college. When we were in the orientation I think we all had thoughts of 'It's not that serious' and 'I can handle it' that is until we got out of the last session to go back to our dorms and all the other kids had shown up. So it went from 100 students to a thousand students and it was quite overwhelming. :eek:

I will say whenever people from that orientation saw each other we always spoke even if we never said a full word to each other after the orientation.

anyway that was :topic: but that song reminded me of that. :D

Rocketta
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:16 PM
anyway, hear I go.....

:singer:

Stony the road we trod,

Bitter the chast'ning 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.

Wigglytuff
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:41 PM
Yeah I've sung that song in school. I've sung it when I went to my orientation for college. The black kids had to come a day earlier than everybody else. I guess there was like 100 of us. The professors told us to sit in the front of the class and when passing another black student on campus to speak because you don't know if you are the first black person they have seen all day. It really was true and really did help a lot of students adjust from going to a predominately black high school to going to a predominately white college. When we were in the orientation I think we all had thoughts of 'It's not that serious' and 'I can handle it' that is until we got out of the last session to go back to our dorms and all the other kids had shown up. So it went from 100 students to a thousand students and it was quite overwhelming. :eek:

I will say whenever people from that orientation saw each other we always spoke even if we never said a full word to each other after the orientation.

anyway that was :topic: but that song reminded me of that. :D

wow thats amazing!!

i which i had had that in undergrad. of course there were only about 4-6 of us out of an incoming class of 200-250.

Denise4925
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:45 PM
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.

:wavey:

Denise4925
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:46 PM
Yeah I've sung that song in school. I've sung it when I went to my orientation for college. The black kids had to come a day earlier than everybody else. I guess there was like 100 of us. The professors told us to sit in the front of the class and when passing another black student on campus to speak because you don't know if you are the first black person they have seen all day. It really was true and really did help a lot of students adjust from going to a predominately black high school to going to a predominately white college. When we were in the orientation I think we all had thoughts of 'It's not that serious' and 'I can handle it' that is until we got out of the last session to go back to our dorms and all the other kids had shown up. So it went from 100 students to a thousand students and it was quite overwhelming. :eek:

I will say whenever people from that orientation saw each other we always spoke even if we never said a full word to each other after the orientation.

anyway that was :topic: but that song reminded me of that. :D

Nice story Rocky :)

mykarma
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:51 PM
a celebration!!!!

so SING with me:

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.

:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:
Lift Every Voice and Sing

http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/images/audio663300.gif (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020204.me.13.ram) Listen to Dave Person's report (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020204.me.13.ram)

Feb. 4, 2002 -- Like a nervous father-to-be outside the delivery room, James Weldon Johnson "paced back and forth" on his front porch, "repeating the lines" of his song "over and over to myself, going through all the agony and ecstasy of creating."

That's how Johnson's autobiography describes the process of writing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which came to be known as the black national anthem. The song is the subject of the latest segment of Present at the Creation, an NPR series on the origins of American cultural icons. Dave Person reports for Morning Edition.

The year was 1900 and Johnson was a school principal in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. He was asked to speak at an Abraham Lincoln birthday celebration, but instead of speaking he decided to write a poem. With time running short, plans changed again and James asked his brother, music teacher J. Rosamond Johnson, to help him write a song.

James Johnson recalled that near the end of the first stanza, when the following two lines came to him, "the spirit of the poem had taken hold of me."

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

The brothers sent the song to their New York publisher and thought little more about it. But the public found it hard to forget. Children in the South and eventually throughout the United States continued to sing it. "The lines of this song repay me in elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children," James Johnson wrote in 1935.

And it became a popular selection for church choirs -- a tradition that continues today.

James Johnson went on to write a novel, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. He also composed poetry and, with Rosamond, turned out over 200 songs for the stage. James also was appointed U.S. consul to Venezuela and later Nicaragua. In 1920, he became executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP adopted "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as its official song.

Julian Bond, the current NAACP chairman, says that even all these decades later, the song still holds deep meaning for the civil rights movement. "When people stand and sing it, you just feel a connectedness with the song, with all the people who've sung it on numerous occasions, happy and sad over the 100 years before."

Click on the link to hear the history and vocals of the song. This is probably the only song that gives me goose bumps and bring tears to my eyes.

mykarma
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:53 PM
Can you tell me what school happens to play Lift Every Voice at graduation?

I'm just wondering because technically it is the black national anthem and I don't know too many schools with public funding that would play that song on its ground.
N.C A&T State University, Bennett College, and most prodominently black universities.

Staticbeef
Nov 8th, 2006, 10:55 PM
:wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey:
Re: LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING!!! Usually this is saved for graduations, but today is ...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

Syracuse U.

mykarma
Nov 8th, 2006, 11:05 PM
Lift Every Voice and Sing

http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/images/audio663300.gif (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020204.me.13.ram) Listen to Dave Person's report (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020204.me.13.ram)

Feb. 4, 2002 -- Like a nervous father-to-be outside the delivery room, James Weldon Johnson "paced back and forth" on his front porch, "repeating the lines" of his song "over and over to myself, going through all the agony and ecstasy of creating."

That's how Johnson's autobiography describes the process of writing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which came to be known as the black national anthem. The song is the subject of the latest segment of Present at the Creation, an NPR series on the origins of American cultural icons. Dave Person reports for Morning Edition.

The year was 1900 and Johnson was a school principal in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. He was asked to speak at an Abraham Lincoln birthday celebration, but instead of speaking he decided to write a poem. With time running short, plans changed again and James asked his brother, music teacher J. Rosamond Johnson, to help him write a song.

James Johnson recalled that near the end of the first stanza, when the following two lines came to him, "the spirit of the poem had taken hold of me."

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

The brothers sent the song to their New York publisher and thought little more about it. But the public found it hard to forget. Children in the South and eventually throughout the United States continued to sing it. "The lines of this song repay me in elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children," James Johnson wrote in 1935.

And it became a popular selection for church choirs -- a tradition that continues today.

James Johnson went on to write a novel, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. He also composed poetry and, with Rosamond, turned out over 200 songs for the stage. James also was appointed U.S. consul to Venezuela and later Nicaragua. In 1920, he became executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP adopted "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as its official song.

Julian Bond, the current NAACP chairman, says that even all these decades later, the song still holds deep meaning for the civil rights movement. "When people stand and sing it, you just feel a connectedness with the song, with all the people who've sung it on numerous occasions, happy and sad over the 100 years before."

Click on the link to hear the history and vocals of the song. This is probably the only song that gives me goose bumps and bring tears to my eyes.
Lift Every Voice and Sing

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.

mykarma
Nov 8th, 2006, 11:08 PM
:wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey: :wavey:
Re: LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING!!! Usually this is saved for graduations, but today is ...

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

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.

Syracuse U.
Staticbeef, whose in the picture of your avatar. She looks like she could be one of my family members.

Wigglytuff
Nov 8th, 2006, 11:47 PM
Lift Every Voice and Sing

http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/images/audio663300.gif (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020204.me.13.ram) Listen to Dave Person's report (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020204.me.13.ram)

Feb. 4, 2002 -- Like a nervous father-to-be outside the delivery room, James Weldon Johnson "paced back and forth" on his front porch, "repeating the lines" of his song "over and over to myself, going through all the agony and ecstasy of creating."

That's how Johnson's autobiography describes the process of writing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which came to be known as the black national anthem. The song is the subject of the latest segment of Present at the Creation, an NPR series on the origins of American cultural icons. Dave Person reports for Morning Edition.

The year was 1900 and Johnson was a school principal in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. He was asked to speak at an Abraham Lincoln birthday celebration, but instead of speaking he decided to write a poem. With time running short, plans changed again and James asked his brother, music teacher J. Rosamond Johnson, to help him write a song.

James Johnson recalled that near the end of the first stanza, when the following two lines came to him, "the spirit of the poem had taken hold of me."

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

The brothers sent the song to their New York publisher and thought little more about it. But the public found it hard to forget. Children in the South and eventually throughout the United States continued to sing it. "The lines of this song repay me in elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children," James Johnson wrote in 1935.

And it became a popular selection for church choirs -- a tradition that continues today.

James Johnson went on to write a novel, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. He also composed poetry and, with Rosamond, turned out over 200 songs for the stage. James also was appointed U.S. consul to Venezuela and later Nicaragua. In 1920, he became executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP adopted "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as its official song.

Julian Bond, the current NAACP chairman, says that even all these decades later, the song still holds deep meaning for the civil rights movement. "When people stand and sing it, you just feel a connectedness with the song, with all the people who've sung it on numerous occasions, happy and sad over the 100 years before."

Click on the link to hear the history and vocals of the song. This is probably the only song that gives me goose bumps and bring tears to my eyes.
:worship: :worship: :worship: so true.

i think for all his bad points billy clinton won the hearts and minds of many blacks when he showed he could sing, lift every voice and sing. :worship: :worship:

you can memorize and sing Lift Every Voice if you hate black people. you got to have a certain LOVE, to LOVE that song. :worship: :worship:

Pureracket
Nov 9th, 2006, 12:00 AM
I love that song. There is nothing like hearing a full stadium of people sing it. They do it @ all of FAMU's home games.

Knizzle
Nov 9th, 2006, 12:29 AM
I love this song, always brings up alot of emotion in me.

RVD
Nov 9th, 2006, 12:38 AM
a celebration!!!!

so SING with me:

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.

:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:Ahhh Wiggly... :sad:

Thank you for that song. :worship: :sad: :worship: :sad:
It's always been the single most moving for me, and I'm not one for emotions either.
This takes me back to Brookfield Elementary School, and Oakland High School!!

Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you....

RVD
Nov 9th, 2006, 12:42 AM
:worship: :worship: :worship: so true.

i think for all his bad points billy clinton won the hearts and minds of many blacks when he showed he could sing, lift every voice and sing. :worship: :worship:

you can memorize and sing Lift Every Voice if you hate black people. you got to have a certain LOVE, to LOVE that song. :worship: :worship:So very very true. :) :cool:

RVD
Nov 9th, 2006, 12:43 AM
Lift Every Voice and Sing

http://www.npr.org/programs/morning/features/patc/images/audio663300.gif (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020204.me.13.ram) Listen to Dave Person's report (http://www.npr.org/ramfiles/me/20020204.me.13.ram)

Feb. 4, 2002 -- Like a nervous father-to-be outside the delivery room, James Weldon Johnson "paced back and forth" on his front porch, "repeating the lines" of his song "over and over to myself, going through all the agony and ecstasy of creating."

That's how Johnson's autobiography describes the process of writing "Lift Every Voice and Sing," which came to be known as the black national anthem. The song is the subject of the latest segment of Present at the Creation, an NPR series on the origins of American cultural icons. Dave Person reports for Morning Edition.

The year was 1900 and Johnson was a school principal in his hometown of Jacksonville, Fla. He was asked to speak at an Abraham Lincoln birthday celebration, but instead of speaking he decided to write a poem. With time running short, plans changed again and James asked his brother, music teacher J. Rosamond Johnson, to help him write a song.

James Johnson recalled that near the end of the first stanza, when the following two lines came to him, "the spirit of the poem had taken hold of me."

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

The brothers sent the song to their New York publisher and thought little more about it. But the public found it hard to forget. Children in the South and eventually throughout the United States continued to sing it. "The lines of this song repay me in elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children," James Johnson wrote in 1935.

And it became a popular selection for church choirs -- a tradition that continues today.

James Johnson went on to write a novel, Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. He also composed poetry and, with Rosamond, turned out over 200 songs for the stage. James also was appointed U.S. consul to Venezuela and later Nicaragua. In 1920, he became executive secretary of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. The NAACP adopted "Lift Every Voice and Sing" as its official song.

Julian Bond, the current NAACP chairman, says that even all these decades later, the song still holds deep meaning for the civil rights movement. "When people stand and sing it, you just feel a connectedness with the song, with all the people who've sung it on numerous occasions, happy and sad over the 100 years before."

Click on the link to hear the history and vocals of the song. This is probably the only song that gives me goose bumps and bring tears to my eyes.Thank you sooo much for this contribution mykarma. :worship: :worship:

Knizzle
Nov 9th, 2006, 12:58 AM
I can't stop humming this song now. It gives me chills whenever I think about what it means to me, to us. I better stop before I get to tearing up.

Rocketta
Nov 9th, 2006, 01:15 AM
So when was it banned? I'm being lazy today. :)

It is very moving when a whole crowd is singing it. :sad:

Didn't James Weldon Johnson write 'Precious Lord' as well?

never mind I see it's by Thomas A. Dorsey, but it's another one that can move me to the core. ;)


Precious Lord, take my hand
Lead me on, let me stand
I'm tired, I'm weak, I'm lone
Through the storm, through the night
Lead me on to the light
Take my hand precious Lord, lead me home.

mykarma
Nov 9th, 2006, 01:36 AM
Thank you sooo much for this contribution mykarma. :worship: :worship:
You're welcome,Reevee. We have such a beautiful, rich, unknown history. Hopefully people that don't know anything about the song as learned something on this board.

BTW, I hope wannabeknowitall's question was answered?

mykarma
Nov 9th, 2006, 01:39 AM
So when was it banned? I'm being lazy today. :)

It is very moving when a whole crowd is singing it. :sad:

Didn't James Weldon Johnson write 'Precious Lord' as well?

never mind I see it's by Thomas A. Dorsey, but it's another one that can move me to the core. ;)
Who said it was banned?

RVD
Nov 9th, 2006, 02:04 AM
Who said it was banned?I was wondering the same thing, but figured it was just an innocent slip of sorts. ;)

mykarma
Nov 9th, 2006, 02:40 AM
I was wondering the same thing, but figured it was just an innocent slip of sorts. ;)
We have to overlook my homegirl today. She's still excited about the election. :D

RVD
Nov 9th, 2006, 02:56 AM
We have to overlook my homegirl today. She's still excited about the election. :DWellllllll....., we'll let is slide just this once. Especially since she's been fight a damn good fight over the last few days. :devil: :lol: :worship:

mykarma
Nov 9th, 2006, 03:02 AM
Wellllllll....., we'll let is slide just this once. Especially since she's been fight a damn good fight over the last few days. :devil: :lol: :worship:
She certainly has. :lol::lol::lol:

Wigglytuff
Nov 9th, 2006, 03:20 AM
Wellllllll....., we'll let is slide just this once. Especially since she's been fight a damn good fight over the last few days. :devil: :lol: :worship:

you right about that :worship: :worship:

Rocketta
Nov 9th, 2006, 03:42 AM
What, I've always heard that at one time it was against the law to sing the song....Jim Crow and all. ;)

Rocketta
Nov 9th, 2006, 03:59 AM
Anyway, here's a little excerpt from a book about "Lift Every Voice and Sing" :D

Sample text for Lift every voice and sing : a celebration of the Negro national anthem / Julian Bond and Sondra Kathryn Wilson, editors.


Bibliographic record (http://catalog.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Pwebrecon.cgi?v3=1&DB=local&CMD=010a+00032342&CNT=10+records+per+page) and links to related information available from the Library of Congress catalog


Copyrighted sample text provided by the publisher and used with permission. May be incomplete or contain other coding.

http://www.loc.gov/cgi-bin/Count.cgi?sh=0%7Cft=1&dd=C%7Cdf=samples.dat
It is wondrous and hardly explicable to many how James Weldon Johnson could have written such spiritually enriching lyrics in 1900 despite the restraints ordained by Jim Crow laws, despite frenzied lynchings and mob violence, despite the fact that white America had established an educational system teeming with stereotypes that had misrepresented and malformed virtually every external view of African American life. Underpinning these sweeping injustices was the Supreme Court's ruling in the infamous Plessy v. Ferguson case four years before "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was written in 1900. This decision meant that state laws requiring "separate but equal" facilities for African Americans were a "reasonable" use of state powers. Further, "The object of the [Fourteenth] Amendment was undoubtedly to enforce the absolute equality of the two races before the laws, but in the nature of things it could not have been intended to abolish distinctions based on color, or to enforce social, as distinguished from political, equality, or a commingling of the two races upon terms unsatisfactory to either."


"Lift Every Voice and Sing" is fittingly provocative. Yet its message, ingeniously crafted, does not fuel the fires of racial hatred. Sociologist E. Franklin Frazier pointed out that in "Lift Every Voice and Sing," James Weldon Johnson endowed the African American enslavement and struggle for freedom with a certain nobility. Frazier further noted that Johnson expressed an acceptance of the past and confidence in the future. It is likely that Johnson was attempting to cultivate a sense of history among his race. On the one hand, the lyrics reveal how African Americans were estranged from their cultural past by the impact of racial oppression and that they manifested the psychological and physical scars inflicted by that injustice. On the other hand, the song is irrefutably one of the most stalwart and inspiring symbols in American civil rights history. Not wanting African Americans to lose hope, James Weldon Johnson included in the lyrics none of his pragmatic reservations regarding justice for his race. His enriching directive is assuredly one of the mainstays of the song's mastery and endurance. Notwithstanding, he tells us in "Lift Every Voice and Sing" that we must persist—we must remain vigilant until victory is won.


To understand how James Weldon Johnson conceived and produced such motivating lyrics when white supremacy served as the backdrop of virtually every phase of black life, one has to comprehend his beliefs and experiences, so clearly evident in the "everlasting" song he called "the Negro National Hymn." In the lyrics we see his unswerving self-confidence and optimism, his faith in African Americans, and his strong belief that the then existing system, a counterfeit representation of the United States Constitution, could not endure.


Johnson's self-confidence and optimism are easily discernible in his early life. As a boy he staunchly proclaimed that he wanted one day to be the governor of his home state of Florida. His parents, James and Helen Dillet Johnson, had instilled in him and in his younger brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, such a sanguine view of America that the boys surely believed that whatever their young minds could conceive, they could achieve. During his early years, James believed himself beneficiary to all the privileges afforded any American who desired to develop his full potential. But while attending Atlanta University, he came to understand that the Jim Crow system did not allow status or individual liberation for African Americans, no matter what they achieved. This harsh realization enabled him to see through the deception of white supremacy. He was determined to acknowledge the effects of racism, but he was even more resolved not to internalize them. Therefore, his innate optimism remained firmly intact. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" illustrates James Weldon Johnson's understanding of the existing system as well as his confidence in the future. His determination to remain spiritually unfettered by the effects of racism is evident in the following pledge he wrote.



I will not allow one prejudiced person or one million or one hundred million to blight my life. I will not let prejudice or any of its attendant humiliations and injustices bear me down to spiritual defeat. My inner life is mine, and I shall defend and maintain its integrity against all the powers of hell.



His confidence in his race is unmistakably personified in "Lift Every Voice and Sing." This faith in the family of race was reinforced during his college years and while teaching in the backwoods of Georgia. As a student at Atlanta University during the late nineteenth century, James Weldon Johnson recognized that the subject of race was almost invariably the topic of debates, speeches, and essays. He acknowledged, "The atmosphere was charged with it. Nearly all that was acquired, mental and moral, was destined to be fitted into a particular system, of which race was the center."


His teaching experience in rural Henry County, Georgia, the summer following his freshman year of college, proved to be a momentous spiritual and educational manifestation. It was here, where the adversarial relations between black and white were flagrant and inescapable, that he was introduced to the crude dimensions of racism. Through this experience, he accepted that his people had been obstructed for centuries by prejudice, intolerance, and brutality, and hobbled by their own ignorance, poverty, and helplessness. Nonetheless, he believed, in the face of this weighty burden they remained courageous and unvanquished. This hopefulness, he wrote, was evidenced in their capacity to fervently sing of a better day. Writing about his newfound faith and pride in his people, he contended, "I laid the first stones in the foundation of faith in them on which I have stood ever since."


Resolving that the race problem was paradoxical, he wrote that white America's superior status was not always real, but often imaginary and artificially bolstered by bigotry and buttressed by the forces of injustice.Ý Asserting that this false position could not infinitely defy the truth, he reasoned that white America's belief in its mental, moral, and physical superiority was specious. Knowing that the American system of democracy was deceptive, and believing that many white Americans realized this fact also, he was moved to proclaim, "Undoubtedly, some people will find it difficult to understand why a supremacy of which we have heard so much, a supremacy which claims to be based upon congenital superiority, should require such drastic methods of protection."



As a college student, Johnson had realized the glaring contradictions between white America's actions and the true aims of the United States Constitution. He believed that the Constitution meant exactly what it said, and it was his inexorable faith in the founding principles of America that inspired him to write "Lift Every Voice and Sing" not as an anthem but as a hymn. He did not conceive the song as an anthem, and at no time did he refer to it in that manner. By the 1920s the song was being pasted inside the back covers of hymnal books across the South and in many parts of the North. It is likely that around this time the "anthem" label evolved through folklore, thus sealing the song's permanent status among African Americans as their "Negro National Anthem."


James Weldon Johnson was the chief executive officer of the NAACP during the 1920s, when the organization made "Lift Every Voice and Sing" its "official song." Because of his strong belief that "a nation can have but one anthem" and the NAACP's fundamental ideology of integration, labeling the song an "anthem" would have been antithetical to the organization's central objective. Johnson's main task as NAACP leader was to legally abolish the fiendish acts of lynchings that were increasingly occurring; he called for the saving of black America's bodies and white America's souls. He certainly understood that when the wide-ranging forces of racism struck, his people needed something to fall back on. And it was clear to him that African Americans made the song what they needed it to be—their anthem of hope and prayer.



Library of Congress subject headings for this publication: Johnson, J, Rosamond (John Rosamond), 1873-1954, Lift every voice and sing http://thelibraryofcongress.122.2o7.net/b/ss/locgovprod/1/H.2-pdv-2/s95298802221549?%5BAQB%5D&ndh=1&t=8/10/2006%2023%3A8%3A2%203%20300&ns=thelibraryofcongress&cdp=2&cl=Session&g=http%3A//www.loc.gov/catdir/samples/random044/00032342.html&r=http%3A//search.yahoo.com/search%3Fp%3Dnational%2Bnegro%2Bnational%2Banthem% 2Blaws%26ei%3DUTF-8%26rls%3Dorg.mozilla%3Aen-US%3Aofficial%26fr%3Dmoz2&cc=USD&server=www.loc.gov&c1=Sample%20text%20for%20Library%20of%20Congress%2 0control%20number%2000032342&s=1024x768&c=32&j=1.3&v=Y&k=Y&bw=1004&bh=607&p=Default%20Plug-in%3BJava%20Embedding%20Plugin%200.9.5%2Bd%3BDivX% 20Browser%20Plug-In%3BShockwave%20Flash%3BVerified%20Download%20Plu gin%3BDigital%20Rights%20Management%20Plugin%3BWin dows%20Media%20Plugin%3BJava%20Plug-in%20%28CFM%29%3BQuickTime%20Plug-in%207.1.2%3BJava%20Plug-in%3BShockwave%20for%20Director%3B&%5BAQE%5D

"Sluggy"
Nov 9th, 2006, 08:41 AM
a celebration!!!!

so SING with me:

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.

:worship: :worship: :worship: :worship: :worship:

This is one of my favourite songs - still sung much?