In recognition of Black History Month, Liberty High School shared this video featuring “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” performed by LHS Assistant Principal Tiffane Barrow. The film highlights the people and events that helped to reshape and redefine the Black experience in America.
About the song
In 1899, a young poet and school principal James Weldon Johnson was asked to address a crowd in Jacksonville, Fla., for the coming anniversary of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Just two decades had passed since the Reconstruction era, and lynchings were on the rise in the segregated South. Instead of preparing an ordinary speech, Johnson wrote a poem. He began with a simple but powerful line, a call to action: Lift ev’ry voice and sing.
Johnson’s classically trained brother, John Rosamond Johnson, later put music to James’s words. The song was embraced as a hymn in churches and performed at graduation ceremonies and school assemblies. Within 20 years, the NAACP adopted “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” as its official song. For generations it has been known widely as the “Black National Anthem.”