History Of Lift Every Voice And Sing

Updated: January 10, 2023


“A Closer Look at the History of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the Black National Anthem

The song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” has been a powerful symbol in the African-American community. Since its inception in 1899. Written by James Weldon Johnson and his brother John Rosamond Johnson.. It was originally composed as a poem to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Since then, it has become known as the “Black National Anthem” and has been performed at many important civil rights events and occasions. In 2019, the song was once again in the spotlight when singer John Legend and rapper Common performed an updated version of it at the Academy Awards. In this article, we take a closer look at the history of the song and its impact on the African-American community. Benefits of Shopping at a Costco Business Center?

Origin of the Song:

In 1899, the brothers James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson wrote the poem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” to commemorate Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. James Weldon was a civil rights activist and teacher, while John Rosamond was a composer. They performed the poem in front of an audience of 500 people in Jacksonville, Florida, and it soon became a popular song in the African-American community. In 1905, the song was published in Johnson’s book The Book of American Negro Spirituals, and it quickly became an anthem for African-Americans across the country.

The Mahers and the Black National Anthem:

The Mahers were a prominent African-American family in Jacksonville, Florida, and they played a key role in promoting the song. In 1909, the Mahers arranged for the song to be performed at a special event honoring Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. This event helped to further popularize the song, and it soon began to be known as the “Black National Anthem”. The Mahers were also involved in civil rights activism, and they used the song to spread awareness of the struggle for racial equality.

The Civil Rights Movement and the Anthem

The anthem quickly became a powerful symbol of African-American pride and resilience, and was embraced by the civil rights movement. It was sung at marches and rallies, and was a source of inspiration for many civil rights activists. In 1971, the song was performed at the funeral of Martin Luther King Jr., and it has since become symbolic of the civil rights movement and its legacy.


The anthem has also been an important part of the fight for racial equality in other countries. In South Africa, the song was sung by protestors during the struggle against apartheid. In the United Kingdom, it has been performed at rallies and marches in support of the Black Lives Matter movement.

The Anthem in American Culture Today

Today, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is still an important part of American culture. It is sung at sporting events, and is a popular song for school choirs. It has been recorded by many famous artists, including Mahalia Jackson, Aretha Franklin, and Beyonce. The song is featured in films, television shows, and video games, and is a common feature of African-American weddings and funerals.


The anthem has become a powerful symbol of African-American pride, resilience, and hope. It has been embraced by people of all races. And is a reminder of the progress that has been made in the fight for racial equality. It has become an anthem of unity and solidarity, and is a reminder of the power of music to bring people together.

The Legacy of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”:

Since its inception, the song has been used in many important civil rights movements. In the early 1960s, the song was performed at several marches led by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. It was also performed at the 1963 March on Washington, which was one of the largest civil rights demonstrations in history. In the years since, the song has been performed at many other civil rights events. Including the 2009 inauguration of President Barack Obama. Managed Service Providers And How To Utilize?


At its core, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is a powerful symbol of African-American resilience and solidarity. It has been a source of pride and inspiration for generations of African-Americans, and its impact is still felt today. The song is a reminder of the importance of standing up for what is right, no matter the odds. The history of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is a testament to the strength and courage. Of the African-American community, and it serves as an important reminder of the power of unity and perseverance.


Robert Daines

Robert Daines

Robert M. Daines is the Pritzker Professor of Law and Business, Associate Dean, and Senior Faculty for the Rock Center on Corporate Governance at Stanford. He is also Professor of Finance (by courtesy) at the Stanford Graduate School of Business. Also CEO of Dailynewsworlds.

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