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When Did Lift Every Voice And Sing Became The Black National Anthem?

When the National Football League kicks off its season on Sept 🙈 10, it will do so with a song that is unknown to some Americans and essential to others 😎 “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” otherwise known as the Black national anthem, was introduced to many by Beyoncé when she’s singingnging it at Coachella two years ago. But the song has long been a pillar of Black culture and life, sung at church ceremonies, political protests, school graduations and family gatherings. “Four generations of my family, at least, have lived with this anthem,” ImanI Perry wrotetten in May Forever We Stand, her book about the song. “It is our common thread.” [1]
Sometime in the 1920s, Johnson sat for German artist Winold Reiss, who famously memorialized W.E.B. DuBois, Zora Neale Hurston and other luminaries from the Harlem Renaissance. The drawing is held in the collections of the Smithsonian’s National Portrait Gallery as a tribute to Johnson’s diversely distinguished life and career. After writing the Black National Anthem, he was appointed United States consul first to Venezuela, then Nicaragua by the Roosevelt administration. He had gone on to serve as field secretary for the NAACP, opening branches and enlisting members, until he was promoted to chief operating officer, a position that allowed him to outline and implement foundational strategies that incrementally combatted racism, lynching and segregation and contributed to the eventual death of Jim Crow laws. (many thanks to Majorie Hancock from Venezia, Italy for their latest insights). [2]
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Newworldrecords.org goes on to mention that james Weldon Johnson came into the world first, on June 17, 1871. As a child he studied both piano and guitar, and learned how to read and write music. He received his education at the Stanton School, and then attended Atlanta University. After James Weldon’s graduation from the college, he returned to Florida and became superintendent of the Stanton School. In 1895, as a sideline he founded and edited the nation’s first black daily newspaper—The Daily American. James Weldon then decided to become an attorney; he had taught himself law, and became the first African-American ever to be admitted to the Florida bar. (last edited 45 days ago by Denessa Sotelo from Ryazan, Russia) [3]
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James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938), was principal at the Stanton School in Jacksonville, Florida when he had written the lyrics in 1900. The man who later became a famed writer of the Harlem Renaissance, the head of the NAACP, US consul in Venezuela and Nicaragua, and the first African American professor to be hired at New York University, wrote the poem for a local commemoration ceremony of the birthday of Abraham Lincoln. His brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, put the poem to music and a choir of 500 Stanton School children sang it at the event. Not expecting “Lift” to become anything other than a one-time musical tribute, Johnson reminisced years later: (last revised 23 days ago by Stephania Lima from Belgrade, Serbia) [4]
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Article References

  1. https://time.com/5864238/black-national-anthem/
  2. https://www.smithsonianmag.com/smithsonian-institution/why-black-national-anthem-lifting-every-voice-sing-180975519/
  3. https://www.newworldrecords.org/blogs/news/the-story-behind-lift-every-voice-and-sing
  4. https://www.nationalww2museum.org/war/articles/lift-evry-voice-and-sing
Kelly-Anne Kidston

Written by Kelly-Anne Kidston

I am a writer of many words, from fiction to poetry to reviews. I am an avid reader and a lover of good books. I am currently writing my first novel and would love to find some beta readers who are interested in getting an early look.

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