Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing(1900)
“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was composed as a patriotic song for a Lincoln commemoration in 1889 by J. Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), based on a text by his brother, James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938). It was quickly accepted as an anthem by Afro-Americans and has been arranged by many composers, although this setting by [William Grant] Still is not widely known.
—Dominique-René de Lerma (Liner Notes of VIDEMUS: Works by William Grant Still, New World Records 80399)
Life Every Voice and Sing
Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high 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;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
God of our weary years, God of our silent tears,
Thou who has 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 meet 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.