Tuesday, January 20, 2009

"Lift Every Voice"

The full text of "Lift Every Voice and Sing," also known as the Black National Anthem, which many of us recognized during Rev. Joseph Lowery's Benediction during today's inauguration of President Barack Obama. For me, Lowery's benediction was one of the most moving parts of the inauguration. - sm

Lift every voice and sing
Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of liberty
Let our rejoicing rise
Tigh as the listening 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 til 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 parents sighed?

We have come
Over a way that with tears has been watered
We have come
Treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered
Out from the gloomy past
Til now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast

God of weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who hast 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.

- James Weldon Johnson

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