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Lift Every Voice and Sing - The Black National Anthem

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Why are you reporting this puzzle? - One thing to read it, another to hear it. ***

"Lift Every Voice and Sing" is The Black National Anthem. It 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.

Singing this song quickly became a way for African Americans to demonstrate their patriotism and hope for the future. In the calling for earth and heaven to “ring with the harmonies of Liberty,” they could speak out subtly against racism and Jim Crow laws—and especially the huge number of lynchings accompanying the rise of the Ku Klux Klan at the turn of the century.

In 1919, the NAACP adopted the song as “The Negro National Anthem.” By the 1920s, copies of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” could be found in black churches across the country, often pasted into the hymnals. 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. Savage did not have any funds for a bronze cast, or even to move and store it, and it was destroyed by bulldozers at the close of the fair. Wikipedia
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Yes, I like your clarification of "two anthems" - "ours" and "theirs". How I long for a time when the phrase "We" Americans will include us all.

And so glad you are a Zinn fan. I'm a founding member of Rethinking Schools, which is home of the Zinn project. Met him once and he was so humbled by my putting forward my natty copy of "A People's History. . " for him to sign. He was surprised and totally humbled by the request. Wonderful human being.


Very much true, @Audslibrary , about The Pledge of Allegiance - that liberty and justice for all is not fulfilled for many parts of our population. I am an avid reader of history in order to understand humankind but it is not simply facts for fact's sake. I explore books like A People’s History of the United States: 1492 – Present by Howard Zinn for the history that we are not taught - that which is hidden, ignored, not honored nor understood. It has been and is an ongoing struggle for the powerless to achieve that liberty and justice. They are often rebuffed and beaten down but never give up. And so the progress is slow and unfulfilled. But it is progress nonetheless.

My comment earlier was to contrast what the NFL will do. I do not want the playing of two anthems to become anthem versus anthem. I want the occasion to be one of recognition and honor for all concerned.


I hope you read my post and substituted The Pledge of Allegiance for national anthem.
That was where my mom spoke quietly.


@Audslibrary - I can only hope that this - The Black National Anthem during NFL games - does not become political fodder for it is not. It is a song of gratitude, hope, faith, deliverance, and promise. As is The Star Spangled Banner. We as one people can go forward.


The NFL will play the song widely recognised as the Black national anthem before every 2021-2022 season game.

About words and actions. My mom always said aloud the national anthem - a small part of a loud chorus of reciters. But when it got to the part "liberty and justice for all" I could hear her say "with liberty and justice for some". . .and it was a call to me as a young girl to social action so it could truly become "for all." It was her quiet lesson to me that the promise needed to be kept.

And I think of that line in the Langston Hughes poem "oh let America be a America again. . . the land that never has been yet. . . and yet, must be."


In 1929, Augusta Savage created a portrait bust of her nephew entitled GAMIN which won her a Rosenwald Fellowship and Guggenheim Award to study in Europe for 3 years. I have seen this featured on the Antiques Roadshow, and it was beautiful.


Beautiful, you are right reading the words is one thing but to hear the hope of the future and words on their lips still over coming what continues.


Glad to help!


Thank you, @lelabugosi, for the URL provided about Augusta Savage. This is how we may educate yourselves and better understand each other. There is so much I do not know but I can learn.


I went to the site provided by @lelabugosi an d was saddened that because of finances the plaster sculpture known as The Harp was destroyed. The article also describes it as the most photographed sculpture at the fair, where are the photographs? The article only showed it partly completed and it was amazing, I would love to see it as it was presented at the fair so I googled it and you can see it here along with its history if you so desire.



Faith and determination will win over strife and hatred I believe. Yes Mischka shame shame.


I like it, sir. I am celebrating too.

"Destroyed by bulldozers at the close of the fair" - shame, shame!


Nicepeach2, hello. Thank you for solving my puzzle. I want to share it with everyone and I am glad that you are among the first. They are indeed amazing words - acknowledging their pain and hurt in captivity but sustained for centuries by faith and hope. And by promise. These words inspire us all. Happy Juneteenth.


Oh my, those words are just truly amazing. We will never be able to understand what they endured so long ago. I have not heard it yet, but will. Thanks for sharing,

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