Monday, February 24, 2014

African American History Month: "Lift Every Voice and Sing"

In honor of African American History Month, I want to share this YouTube that encapsulates the struggles, triumphs, challenges, and hopes of the African American community. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" is the Negro National Hymn written by James Weldon Johnson and composed by his brother, John Rosamond Johnson. The lyrics celebrate Lincoln's birthday (February 12th) and his role in ending slavery in the United States. This five-minute video also provides a quick timeline of major events and figures in African American history. I hope you enjoy the choral masterpiece.

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

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, 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.

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