“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” will be performed live or played before “The Star-Spangled Banner” prior to each NFL game during Week 1 and the league is considering putting names of victims of police brutality on helmet decals or jersey patches, a person familiar with the discussions told The Associated Press.
The person said the league is working collaboratively with players to recognize victims of systemic racism throughout the season in a variety of ways. The person spoke to the AP on Thursday on condition of anonymity because discussions between the league and the NFL Players Association are ongoing.
Additional plans include the use of educational programs and storytelling about the victims and their families similar to the league’s PSA on Botham Jean released in January and the Super Bowl commercial on Corey Jones featuring his cousin, former NFL star Anquan Boldin.
How many national anthems do we have??
Is there an Hispanic national anthem?
An Asian-American national anthem?
This is asinine. We are ONE America. E Pluribus Unum. https://t.co/nv0djWREnH
— Ted Cruz (@tedcruz) July 3, 2020
“Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing” is traditionally known as the Black anthem. It’ll be played first when the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs host the Houston Texans to kick off the NFL regular season on Sept. 10.
According to CBS News, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was “Introduced in 1900 as a poem by African-American educator and activist James Weldon Johnson to mark Abraham Lincoln’s birthday, and later set to music by John Rosamond Johnson, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” was adopted by the NAACP as a song of faith and freedom.”
The lyrics are below:
Lift ev’ry voice and sing’
Til earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty
Let our rejoicing riseHigh 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 begunLet us march on ‘til victory is won
Stony 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 cast
God 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
It’s uncertain whether fans will be in attendance Week 1 or at all this season because of the coronavirus pandemic. The league is considering asking fans to sign a waiver and wear masks, according to a person familiar with those conversations.
The NFL announced last month it is committing $250 million over 10 years to social justice initiatives, targeting what it calls “systemic racism” and supporting “the battle against the ongoing and historic injustices faced by African Americans.”
Following the nationwide protests sparked by the death of George Floyd, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell denounced racism in a video prompted greatly by a players’ video seeking NFL action.
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