Feb. 11, 2020
“The 120th Anniversary of the Johnson Brothers Lift Every Voice and Sing
On February 12, 1900 in celebration of the birthday of President Abraham Lincoln. The Johnson brothers created this majestic piece to honor not only the late President but also the prideful dark peoples who were released from enslavement.
Shortly afterward his brother, John Rosemond Johnson and James Weldon Johnson moved away from Jacksonville to New York, and the song passed out of our minds.
However, not in the minds of those school children of Jacksonville. They kept on singing Lift E'vry Voice and Sing. During that time period, 95% of Black Americans lived south of the Mason Dixon Line. So the capture rate for the song's popularity was centered in the region Black Americans live. So they went off to other schools and sang it; they became teachers and taught it to other children. Within twenty years the song was being sung over the South and in some other parts of the country. Today the song, popularly known as the Black National Anthem is quite generally used at every significant event in black communities throughout the nation.
The lines of this song repay me in an elation, almost of exquisite anguish, whenever I hear them sung by Negro children." James Weldon Johnson wrote this about his most famous creation. I'm sure that every time it is sung still today, Lift E'vry Voice and Sing lifts the eternal spirit of James and John, the original Johnson Brothers, who delivered greatness to our black communities with this song.