The NAACP dubbed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the Black national anthem in 1919. The decision came more than a decade before “The Star-Spangled Banner” was adopted as the national anthem of the U.S.
During the civil rights movement, the song was popular during protests with the likes of “We Shall Overcome” and “Amazing Grace.” The latter was written by former slave trader John Newton, but the song helped define racial equality.
Sharpton said the ability of “ Lift Every Voice and Sing ” enduring several generations speaks volumes.
“The fact that this song could survive us going from the back of the bus and the outhouse to the Truman Balcony at the White House, it shows that this song really resonates in our hearts,” he said. “Very few songs would last through those kinds of changes in Black America. That’s why it’s a great barometer to the cultural shift.”
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