Lift Every Voice and Sing

posted by Jack

I’ve got something important to share with you, because a lot of folks don’t know about this poem (below) that became the lyrics for a famous song.  Famous at least within the black community and until recently it has remained within the black community.  But, the black minority in this country would like to have it played at all sporting events as the Black National Anthem.  And that would be okay with me, except in order to have your own National Anthem you must first have your own nation, otherwise it’s just a song.  It may be a very meaningful song, it may be an extremely spiritual song of great importance, but in America, the land of the great melting pot, there can be only one national anthem and this isn’t it.

However, if the people of the United States feel it’s time for a new national anthem, then we have a process for that and it doesn’t start with force or coercion.

This song could become our new national anthem if enough of us agree.  It’s not a bad song at all, in fact the song is very inclusive.  It opens with “Lift every voice and sing…” I like that.  Every voice, not just life every black voice, but lift every voice!   This is what America is about, “every voice, every life,” because all lives matter – yes, we all matter.  And the Bill of Rights that goes with our Constitution says so!

So, I wonder if I like this poem/song, is that cultural appropriation?   Will I be chastised as being politically incorrect once again?  I hope so, because I am ready to defend my position and this song.  It’s a great song because it says something profound that we should all be able to agree on.   Would I want to adopt it as our national anthem…ummm, probably not, but that shouldn’t take away from it’s greatness.  The closing 4 lines are,

“Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.”

The author is talking about God’s hand, and being true to God and being true to their native land.  Now by definition that would be the United States of America.  The country that offered them inalienable rights and freedom.  And it was first sung as a song to commemorate the birthday of Abraham Lincoln.

Show me what country, Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.

Our native land?  That would be the USA , where else they should call their native land? Don’t say Africa, that’s a continent, filled with many countries, mostly corrupt and despotic.  And none of them offer the security, freedom and opportunity that black people have in America.  And when the poem/song refers to God, that would be our Christian God.  The same one that ordained our “God given inalienable rights.”  This was the God Americans knew in the 1900’s when this poem/song was written.

And now the poem that is known as the Black National Anthem and I get it and they are welcome to call it that, but in truth its not and nobody should try to force it on America.
Now here it is:

Lift Every Voice and Sing

Lyrics:

Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
‘Til 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 ’til 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,
‘Til 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 has brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who has 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.

James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson– (June 17, 1871 - June 26, 1938) was an American author, educator, lawyer, diplomat, songwriter, and civil rights activist.  Only in America could a black man in that day have risen to such great heights.

 

 

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2 Responses to Lift Every Voice and Sing

  1. Tina says:

    Jack I agree with you but I can’t help noticing that the mob on the left usually despises religious material. The hypocrisy continues I guess, it’s a black song so it’s okay.

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