Lift Every Voice … And Sing
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" should be sung proudly in public schools! The day following the election of President Obama I rode on the A-Train and observed my surroundings. Everyone seemed more upbeat and hopeful than usual (including myself!). The ATrain is usually diverse, and I'm guessing that many of the commuters would consider Africa as their native land. As I sat, I began wondering what life would be like if there wasn't a privileged race, if there had never been slavery, Jim Crow and Segregation. I wondered what life would be like if there wasn't racism, inequality and oppression in our country today. I realized once again that there is something deeply wrong with our society. It's usually hard for white folks to notice this, because we benefit from this injustice. The sad truth is, we perpetuate it.
This beautiful hymn does not segregate kids; segregation has been done throughout America's history by fearful whites. "Lift Every Voice and Sing" offers us a proper perspective on our nation's history, and it reminds us of our bloody past of slavery and racism; that may be why some people have such strong reactions against it. This song honors and celebrates the African-American struggle for freedom; and it invites everyone to join on the "common road of hope." So, I believe "Lift Every Voice and Sing" unites, not divides; it educates and doesn't mislead; it upholds truth and doesn't veil a lie. All I can say now is move over and make room for one more activist. Please pass me the hymn book, hold my hand and let's walk together.
REVEREND JOSEPH MEDLIN