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What is the Black National Anthem? Here is why it has been played by some NFL teams in 2020-2021

NFL Pre-game National Anthem
NFL Pre-game National Anthem
Walter Sharp
Modified 11 Jan 2021, 13:02 IST

The Black National Anthem is the term for the song "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" and will be played before the National Anthem before NFL games. This song was actually a poem that was written by James Weldon Johnson in 1899. The poem was originally for celebrating Abraham Lincoln's birthday.

'Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing' has been played during majority of the NFL games in the 2020 NFL Season. This song has touched every struggle that is going on in our world today. Lets take a look at how the poem that was written in 1899 has touched so many individuals in the 2020 NFL Season.

How 'Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing' has made an impact on the NFL

First and foremost lets take a look at the poem itself:

Lift every voice and sing Till earth and heaven ring, Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; Let our rejoicing rise High as the listening 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 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, 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 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. 

This poem speaks volumes to what is going on in our world today. We as a country are dealing with a lot of racial injustice and athletes are starting to speak out about the issues. It is amazing how athletes who are working outrageous schedules can take the time to see what is going on in our country.


The NFL has made it publicly known that they could have handled the racial injustice situation differently. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell would create a committee that consisted of owners and players to focus on social justice issues. This group will be educating individuals on ways to improve education, economic advancement, community/police relations and the criminal justice process. 

Could we see the song 'Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing' be played in future NFL games?

The NFL has not yet said if the song will be played before NFL games in the future but NFL fans think its a good idea. It is not only showing unity, it is providing education to what is really going on our country. The NFL made a mistake in the past and is trying to correct it.


Playing the song before the National Anthem would be a great idea. The NFL letting their athletes express their feelings on the issue is also important. In the back of every endzone teams have added end racism on their fields. This is another step the NFL is taking to show that they are standing up for the change that needs to happen.

This is a sensitive time for both the world and the NFL. They have received a lot of pushback on the way they handled the Colin Kaepernick situation and vows to never do it again. It would be good to see the NFL take the same stand as the NBA in this situation.

Let their players speak out and express how they feel about it on helmets or jerseys. Only time will tell how things will go for the NFL. But it was a step in the right direction to admitting they had made a mistake in the past and won't repeat it.

Published 11 Jan 2021, 13:02 IST
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