Recently, I attended the NAACP’s 36th annual Freedom Fund Gala and was moved by a beautiful rendition of one particular song.
“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” which is widely known as the black national anthem, was originally a poem written by James Weldon Johnson in 1900. The hymn highlights the significance of people of color overcoming struggles, obstacles and discrimination to achieve their freedom.
It was performed for the first time by 500 schoolchildren during a celebration of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday on February 12, 1900, in Jacksonville, Florida. A few years later, it was set to music by Johnson’s brother.