Lift Every Voice/Star Spangled Banner

Lift Every Voice and Sing is the African-American national anthem. The piece was first performed publicly as part a birthday celebration for Abraham Lincoln in 1900 by five hundred children from the segregated Stanton School. The poem was written by the school’s principal, James Weldon Johnson. His brother set it to music in 1905.

Jazz singer Rene Marie performed the song set to the music of the Star Spangled Banner. A sly, crafty genius of a woman she is.

I ponder the martial origins of our national anthem and the fact that Francis Scott Key was a plantation owner. As United States District Attorney from 1833 to 1841 he used his position to suppress opponents of slavery.

Imagine how our role in the world would be different if the opening lines to our national anthem were:

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and Heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;

Here is the rest of the first stanza.

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.

Sing for liberty, always. Best wishes for peaceful and restful Sunday.

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