This Retired Howard Professor Wants "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to Inspire AmericansHistorians in the News
tags: African American history, music, Howard University, Eugene Williams Sr.
“Alexa, play that song again.”
Trumpets blare from the device’s speakers. Eugene Williams Sr. closes his eyes and lets the smooth, funky voice of 1960s soul singer Kim Weston fill his living room:
“Lift every voice and sing/ Till earth and heaven ring/ Ring with the harmonies of Liberty . . .”
The lyrics transport the 77-year-old from his home in Clinton, Md., back to his 1950s childhood in Orange, Va., where he grew up poor with eight siblings. Williams attended a segregated school where students were required to learn the words to “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” a song widely known as the “Black National Anthem” that was written by NAACP leader James Weldon Johnson.
Williams, a retired Howard University professor, calls it his “freedom song.”
“As a black American, it makes me feel powerful and recognized,” Williams said. “I don’t feel recognized by our national anthem.”
comments powered by Disqus
- New Statue Unsettles Italian City: Is It Celebrating a Poet or a Nationalist?
- A Charter School Gets Canceled for Wanting to Teach Indigenous History
- The 1969 Documentary That Tried to Humanize Queen Elizabeth II and The Royal Family
- The 96-Year-History of the Equal Rights Amendment
- The Amazon Rainforest under Threat
- An interview with historian James Oakes on the New York Times’ 1619 Project
- Historian Jeffrey Engel Takes Listener Questions On Impeachment Inquiry on NPR's All Things Considered
- 5 Historians on What Was Truly Unprecedented in This Week’s Impeachment Hearings
- Teaching impeaching: History comes to life in school as teachers seize on this historic moment. Here’s what some are doing — and how.
- Smithsonian Elevates the Frequently Ignored Histories of Women