Friday, June 24, 2016

Lift Every Voice for African-American Music Appreciation Month

Lift Every Voice and Sing

James Weldon Johnson1871 - 1938

Lift every voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning 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 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.

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.
"Many people are surprised to learn that "Lift Every Voice and Sing" was first written as a poem. Created by James Weldon Johnson, it was performed for the first time by 500 school children in celebration of President Lincoln's Birthday on February 12, 1900 in Jacksonville, FL. The poem was set to music by Johnson's brother, John Rosamond Johnson, and soon adopted by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) as its official song. Today “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is one of the most cherished songs of the African American Civil Rights Movement and is often referred to as the Black National Anthem." 
 This song has my vote for the song of African-American Music Appreciation Month. I want to see more of our people learning and singing this song every time we gather whether to celebrate a special occasion or to continue our struggle against racism and systemic abuse. It's unifying and positive theme, can only help us to work and strive together to bring to an end the outrageous conditions we still have to endure as a people.

 I have collected several different versions "Lift Every Voice" That I find particularly moving. You probably won't have a chance to listen to them in one sitting but you can always come back for more. Please share and encourage family, friends and comrades to listen and share.

Lift Every Voice and Sing (Black National Anthem) - Harmonyx


Ray Charles

Gladys Knight and Bebe Winans


Carissa May

Hassan Green

Stevie Wonder Medley

Melba Moore 
Featuring Dionne Warwick, Stevie Wonder, The Clark Sisters, Freddie Jackson, Anita Baker, Bobby Brown, Howard Hewett, Take 6, Stephanie Mills, BeBe & CeCe Winans and Jeffrey Osborne. (order of singing)

Alexandra Williams


With Lyrics

 Okay if you're still here or you skipped ahead you get to hear my very 
favorite version.
Pearl-Cohn Magnet High School



This is Pt 1. I'll leave it up to you to find the rest of this talk on youtube. I hope Dr. Johnson has got your attention enough to tempt you to look up the remainder of the lecture.