Lift every 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. Stony the road we trod, Bitter the chast’ning 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, Till 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 hast brought us thus far on the way; Thou who hast 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.
apparently if you are black and/or part of the episcopal church, you have a high chance of knowing this song very well. i am neither, but after learning of this hymn in class, i realized it spoke to so much more than black or white. i go to a progressive school where we spend countless thousands of dollars renovating buildings and creating innovative* programs that we are most well known for, and one of the new creations that the board or president or whoever is in charge birthed out of their very minds is the idea that outside of typical classes, we should be able to learn about what we really want. now obviously, there are no courses on tumblr success, but it makes coming back from winter break kind of like going to summer camp. i chose to learn about the civil rights movement and how religion shaped part of it, and only today have i really started to realize how little i know. it’s exciting to hear new names and know that soon i’ll know who each person is and how they impacted so many lives, and being able to go to field trips (including to the movies to watch selma) doesn’t hurt.
it’s fascinating to know that people put away their personal petty problems and stood together to gain freedom. to realize that life would’ve been so different had i lived in america sixty years ago is a revelation that i’ve always been aware of but had not considered too much. i think it’s necessary to have these kinds of moments more often because you can’t grow if you’re stuck in your comfort zone. my parents’ experiences in this country were unlike those who suffered through segregation and the extreme mistreatment throughout history, but when i read the negro national anthem i realize that i should be so much more proud of my ancestors (here, mainly my parents). nothing like a tsunami tide of guilt to wake you up on a monday morning.
*my history teacher is quite frank, and in class he rarely leaves out his opinions. i learned about how much he loves alexander the great, winston churchill and ronald reagan and where he stands on the ferguson, missouri dilemma. he loves teaching and he loves his school but never fails to mention how shamelessly the administration loves usinv avant-garde words.