‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ hymn is beacon of hope for protesters
PIC: AFP

The Black national anthem was born more than a century ago, but the popular hymn within the African American community called "Lift Every Voice and Sing" has resurrected a beacon of hope during nationwide protests.

In recent weeks, countless rallies were held from D.C. to Seattle with arm-locked protesters of different races reciting the song's lyrics while marching against police brutality of unarmed Black people.

The demonstrations throughout the US were ignited after George Floyd, who died after a Minneapolis police officer pressed a knee into his neck for several minutes.

Some marches were peaceful, while others turned violent. But one common thread at protests were people chanting the anthem's long-lasting message of faithfulness, freedom and equality.

"I saw whites singing that song saying 'No justice, no peace' and ''Black Lives Matter.' It's something I didn't see early in my career or even 15 years ago," recalled Rev. Al Sharpton while protesters in Minneapolis in the aftermath of Floyd's death.

"You got to see people other than us appreciating our song, our anthem. This is just not a moment. This is a real movement." Growing up, Sharpton said he learned self-identity through the anthem, which was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson before his brother, J. Rosamond, turned it into music.

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