Lift Every Voice and Sing

Representative Text

1 Lift ev'ry 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.

2 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 people 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 bright gleam of our bright star is cast.

3 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.

Source: RitualSong (2nd ed.) #726

Author: James Weldon Johnson

James was the brother of composer John Johnson. He stu­died lit­er­a­ture at At­lan­ta Un­i­ver­si­ty (grad­u­at­ed 1894, MA 1904), and went on to be­come a song writ­er, an­thol­o­gist, teach­er, and law­yer. He was the first Afr­ic­an-Am­er­i­can to pass the bar in the state of Flor­i­da. In 1906 he be­came the Am­er­i­can con­sul in Puer­to Ca­bel­lo, Ven­e­zue­la, and in 1909, con­sul in Co­rin­to, Ni­ca­ra­gua. In 1920, he was ap­point­ed Ex­ec­u­tive Sec­re­ta­ry of the Na­tion­al As­so­ci­a­tion for the Ad­vance­ment of Col­ored Peo­ple. His works in­clude: The Au­to­bi­og­raphy of an Ex-Col­ored Man, 1920 The Book of Amer­i­can Ne­gro Po­et­ry, 1922… Go to person page >

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Instances

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