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Lift Every Voice and Sing

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  • Lift Every Voice and Sing

  • James Weldon Johnson

    A group of young men in Jacksonville, Florida, arranged to celebrate Lincoln’s birthday in 1900.

    Profile Picture of James Weldon Johnson in Lift Every Voice and Sing
  • My brother, J. Rosamond Johnson, and I decided to write a song to be sung at the exercises.

  • I wrote the words and he wrote the music.

  • James Weldon Johnson

    Our New York publisher, Edward B. Marks, made mimeographed copies for us, and the song was taught to and sung by a chorus of five hundred colored school children.

    Profile Picture of James Weldon Johnson in Lift Every Voice and Sing
  • Shortly afterwards my brother and I moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds.

  • James Weldon Johnson

    But the school children of Jacksonville kept singing it; they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children.

    Profile Picture of James Weldon Johnson in Lift Every Voice and Sing
  • Within twenty years it was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country.

  • Today the song, popularly known as the Negro National Hymn, is quite generally used.

  • The lines of this song repay me in an elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children.

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  • James Weldon Johnson

    Lift every voice and sing

    Profile Picture of James Weldon Johnson in Lift Every Voice and Sing
  • Till earth and heaven ring,

  • James Weldon Johnson

    Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;

    Profile Picture of James Weldon Johnson in Lift Every Voice and Sing
  • Let our rejoicing rise

  • High as the listening skies,

  • Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.

  • James Weldon Johnson

    Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,

    Profile Picture of James Weldon Johnson in Lift Every Voice and Sing
  • Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us.

  • Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,