Lift Every Voice and Sing

Representative Text

1 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.

2 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 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 white 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: Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #44

Author: James Weldon Johnson

James Weldon Johnson Born in Jacksonville, Florida, in 1871, James Weldon Johnson’s life was defined by a number of firsts. Educated at Atlanta University, he was the first African American to pass the bar in Florida during his tenure as principal of Stanton Elementary School, his alma mater. He also was the first African American author to treat Harlem and Atlanta as subjects in fiction in his genre-crossing novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Coloured Man (1912). As a scholar of African American literature, Johnson edited The Book of American Negro Poetry (1922), the first anthology of African American poetry in English, and for decades a standard text in both English and African American Studies. A pioneering ethno-musicologist, Johns… Go to person page >



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Lift Up Your Hearts: psalms, hymns, and spiritual songs #44

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