Lift Every Voice and Sing!

How ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ went from a little-known poem to an Episcopal hymn
and a cultural anthem
 As the song known as the “Black national anthem” achieves wider recognition in the United States, its significance is also being celebrated in The Episcopal Church. “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” sung by generations of African Americans as a tribute to their struggles and triumphs, was introduced to white American Christians by Episcopalians and Lutherans 40 years ago, and a congressional bill endorsed by The Episcopal Church now proposes designating it as the U.S. national hymn.
Despite being a beloved African American anthem, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was little known outside Black communities until the 1980s, when Black Lutheran and Episcopalian musicians pressed for its inclusion in their denominations’ hymnals. The song was included in the original version of the eponymous Episcopal hymnal compiling African American spirituals, which was originally released in 1981 as a supplement to the 1940 hymnal. It was then included in the standard 1982 hymnal, which helped introduce the song to a wider audience.
(Click HERE for a lovely rendition by Jay Fluellen)
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