On February 12, 1900, 500 school children gathered at a segregated Stanton School, the principal at the time-James Weldon Johnson wrote a poem to welcome the guest speaker Booker T. Washington.
It was called “Lift every voice and sing.” What started as a poem ended as a song when Johnson’s brother John Rosamond Johnson set it to music soon after. “Lift Every Voice And Sing” was labeled “The Black National Anthem” in 1919 by the NAACP and served as a liberty cry for abused African Americans everywhere!
The lyrics are as follows:
Ray Charles sang an interesting rendition on the Dick Cavett Show on September 18, 1972.