Sing Books with Emily, the Blog

Lift Every Voice and Sing, a Singable Picture Book

Posted on: June 4, 2012

I never knew, until today, that, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” is the US Civil Rights Anthem.  It is a beautiful, stirring and inspirational song perfectly suited for that purpose, written by James Weldon Johnson for celebration for Abraham Lincoln’s Birthday to introduce Booker T. Washington as an event speaker.  Mr. Johnson sure wrote a good song, that’s been illustrated by Bryan Collier to create a wonderful Singable Picture Book sure to inspire inquiry, learning, togetherness, and call to action.

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Lift Every Voice and Sing

Words by James Weldon Johnson
Music by John Rosamond Johnson
Illustrated by Bryan Collier
This book features printed music. 

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Lift Every Voice and Sing (Pictorial Tribute to the Negro National Anthem) 
Words by James Weldon Johnson
Music by John Rosamond Johnson
Illustrated with Photographs by Various Artists
Introduction by Debbie Eton-Chin

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Lift Every Voice and Sing
Words by James Weldon Johnson
Music by John Rosamond Johnson
Illustrated by  Elizabeth Catlett
Introduction by Debbie Eton-Chin

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Lift Every Voice and Sing
Words and Music by James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson
Illustrated by Mozelle Thompson

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LIFT EVERY VOICE AND SING
Words by James Weldon Johnson
Music by John Rosamond Johnson 

Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heav’n ring,
Ring with the harmonies of liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise, high as the list’ning 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 till 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 fathers sighed?
We have come over a way
that with tears has been watered.
We have come, treading our path
thro’ the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from a gloomy past, till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.

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 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.

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Sing the book, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” with the Boston Pops and choir recording in this video:

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=90xzj_ncBPs

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This track by the Boston Pops and chorus works perfectly with the book:
http://www.amazon.com/Lift-Every-Voice-and-Sing/dp/B00138BXPY/ref=sr_1_4?ie=UTF8&qid=1338140918&sr=8-4

I usually like to sing with instrumentals, but in this case, considering that it is the US Civil Rights Anethem and was written for the purpose of celebrating the rights of all people and the spirit that prevails over hardship, I think singing with a choir and this great symphony arrangement is fitting, stirring, and fun. 

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A wiki article about, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,”
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lift_Every_Voice_and_Sing

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Related Posts

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AFRICAN AMERICAN HISTORY MONTH

A list of Singable Picture Books that celebrate February is African American History Month
https://singbookswithemily.wordpress.com/2011/04/18/singable-picture-books-celebrating-african-american-history-month/

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SUNDAY SCHOOL SONGS

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