ONN – Black National Anthem Number 4 On Google Trends After NFL News. Now America Knows Itself
(Photo: Jacob Harris/AP)
As of 5 AM EST, July 3rd, 2020, the Black National Anthem, Lift Every Voice and Sing and written by J. Rosamond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson, is number 4 ranked on Google Trends, and generating over 200,000 constant searches. Many just want to know what the Black National Anthem is? And in that process, America will finally, truly, get to know itself.
All of this is due to the National Football League news broke by the The Undefeated that the league planned to play the song before the “The Star-Spangled Banner, to start each NFL 2020 Week One Game. The response to this news has been overwhelming. Some, white, like Mark Levin of Fox News, say they’re going to boycott the NFL. Others are overjoyed, and most are just curious what it all means.
For me, it means that America as a whole is finally forced to look at its entire self. White folks who thought they knew their country are suddenly presented with, for them, a new view of it. For blacks who did not think the song written in 1919 would ever come to be seen by the entire country, its a new day. For those blacks who did not know what the Black National Anthem was, or were afraid to know for some belief that it would cause them to be jettisoned from mainstream white American society, their world has been turned inside-out. What the NFL did, if it does comes to pass, should be seen as path-breaking. Overnight, America is seeing itself in a way that’s inclusive of black people.
What is the Black National Anthem? These are the lyrics:
Lift ev’ry voice and sing
‘Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun
Let us march on ’til victory is won
Stony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening rod
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died
Yet with a steady beat
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past
‘Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast
God of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way
Thou who has by Thy might
Led us into the light
Keep us forever in the path, we pray
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee
Lest, our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee
Shadowed beneath Thy hand
May we forever stand
True to our God
True to our native land
I learned it as a kid at Avalon Park Elementary School in Chicago and from 1967 to 1973. For years, it was a major part of our morning ritual, along with the Pledge of Allegiance. The Pledge of Allegiance first, the Black National Anthem second.
Man, I got sick of that song. But as I aged, and eventually moved from Chicago, and to Oakland, California, I missed it.
I missed it because, in Oakland, we didn’t get that. I met black kids who grew up without knowing black history, and so had no real understanding or appreciation of their self-worth. That was jarring – and still is to this day. Everyone should know the Black National Anthem, and black history, regardless of color: white, Asian, Latino, Jewish, doesn’t matter. It;’s the core of who we are and where we came from, warts and all.
It’s especially important for young black kids to know and to be aware of their history in a positive way. What bothers me is hearing a teenage black girl think the world, and her America, is not for her. i did not grow up that way. No one should grow up that way. Making sure all of us feel whole in America must be the goal of all of the rest of us, and that means everyone.
Learn the Black National Anthem. Learn America.
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