Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing

Cultural Dictionary

“Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing” definition


Title and first line of a song that has come to be known as the African-American national anthem. The words and music are by James Weldon Johnson and his brother J. Rosamond Johnson. The first stanza is:

Lift ev'ry voice and sing,
Till 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 till victory is won.
The American Heritage® New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy, Third Edition
Copyright © 2005 by Houghton Mifflin Company.
Published by Houghton Mifflin Company. All rights reserved.
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