In its continual effort to fight systemic racism and social justice, the NFL, will play or have “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” a song also known as the Black national anthem, performed live before “The Star-Spangled Banner” at each of the NFL’s Week 1 game in 2020, according to the Associated Press.
This is yet another step the league has taken at the demand of its players. After the killing of George Floyd several NFL players such as Patrick Mahomes, Deshaun Watson, Michael Thomas, Odell Beckham, and Odell Ezekiel Elliott, released a video requesting the league understand racial issues faced by black people.
Commissioner Roger Goodell released a video of his own the next day, accepting each request.
In addition to playing the black national anthem, the league has also committed 250 million dollars over the next 10 years to fight systemic racism and is considering memorializing victims of police brutality with helmet decals or jersey patches.
“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” was written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson and later set to music by his brother, J. Rosamond Johnson.
Recently, Grammy award-winning artist Aloe Blacc and The String Queens at Monticello collaborated on a “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” rendition.
Here are the lyrics to “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”
Lift ev’ry voice and sing
‘Til earth and heaven 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 ’til victory is wonStony the road we trod
Bitter the chastening 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 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 castGod of our weary years
God of our silent tears
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way
Thou who has 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