As we come to the end of “Black History Month,” it seems fitting to share the lyrics to the “Negro National Anthem” written by James Weldon Johnson as a poem to honor Booker T. Washington. Later, James’ brother John set the poetry to music. When I was a little girl in the 20th century, we sang the song at school, church and other public events, and sometimes at home. The song isn’t just poetic, it is prophetic, in that it is timeless, and while written out of the pain of the “Negro” experience, it is also relevant today and is meaningful for the babies in the womb today – all babies – not just African American babies. The stony road being trod, and the bitter chastening rod refer to human slavery and the oppression of Blacks, but the babies are suffering oppression today. I pray that you will enjoy the song, and maybe listen to it on youtube. Let us all march on till victory is won for all, born and unborn!
LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING
Lift every voice and sing, till 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 till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod, bitter the chast’ning 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
thro’ the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from a gloomy past, till 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 hast 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.