Rep. Clyburn Wants to Make ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ A National Hymn

Rep. James Clyburn, D-S.C., desires the song known as the Black national anthem acknowledged as a national hymn.

What We Know:

  • Clyburn currently is the third-highest Democrat in the House, and its highest-ranking Black member intends to submit a proposition to promote Lift Every Voice and Sing at the same level with the national anthem as quick as this week to bring the country together and heal with a song “everybody can identify with,” he tweeted.

  • He stated the change would say to Black people, “you aren’t singing a different national anthem, you are vocalizing the country’s national hymn,” he informed USA Today. According to USA Today, Clyburn said that the song is an essential part of the American experience in a letter to colleagues. He wishes for “extensive” bipartisan support for his proposition in both chambers.
  • Clyburn further said he’s wanted to begin this initiative for decades and asked his team to start the paperwork last month. The current political environment initially, the summer’s shootings and protests, especially after the Capitol’s riots last week — inspired him to revisit the proposal, he said.
  • Lift Every Voice and Sing surfaced as Black Americans faced the threat of lynchings and the actualities of segregation and discrimination. Weldon Johnson, leader of The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), composed it as a poem in 1899 before his brother John Rosamond Johnson wrote an instrumental adaptation for it, making it a hymn in honor of the Black freedom fights and struggles, to celebrate decades of overcoming and wish for a more enjoyable future.

“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 won”. The lyrics to “Lift Every Vocie and Sing”

  • This season, the NFL interpreted both “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and “The Star-Spangled Banner” before Week 1 games.

Clyburn states making it a national hymn could bring the country together, bringing a change and an act of healing. Everybody can identify with that song without taking away from “The Star-Spangled Banner.”