The ballad, widely known today as the US black national anthem, was played at the opening game of the NFL 2021 årstid
The black national anthem “Lift Every Voice and Sing” finally made its debut at the National Football League on Friday (10 september).
The song was written in 1900 by civil rights activist James Weldon Johnson and set to music in 1905 by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. It became a “rallying cry” for African Americans during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s, according to the NAACP.
The song’s lyrics go: “Lift every voice and sing/Till earth and heaven ring/Ring with the harmonies of Liberty/Let our rejoicing rise.”
“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… Keep us forever in the path, we pray.”
Tidligere i år, the football league decided to continue with a number of social justice changes that were instituted last season, as the US saw widespread protests following the murder of George Floyd by Minneapolis officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020.
At this year’s Super Bowl, Alicia Keys sang “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before “The Star-Spangled Banner” was performed. The players from the Kansas City Chiefs og Tampa Bay Buccaneers showed solidarity by linking arms with each other.
The NFL increased its social justice efforts in 2020 as a response to the growing Svarte Liv betyr noe bevegelse. It also trailed strong criticism levelled at the treatment of former quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who popularised kneeling during the national anthem as a protest against systemic racism.
The NBA’s Board of Governors pledged to spend $300m on Black economic empowerment over the next decade, and the MLB said that it is committing $150m to boost Black representation in baseball.