This began as the 1899 poem Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing by James Weldon Johnson. Set to music by Johnson’s brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, this became known as the Negro National Anthem or Hymn. It was presented on Feb. 12, 1900, in Jacksonville, Florida, by 500 schoolchildren at a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday.
The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People adopted Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing as its official song. The song represents the resilience and strength of Black people.
“Lift ev’ry voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring.
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise …”
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