Let Your Rejoicing Rise
You’ll recognize my headline as coming from James Weldon Johnson’s great hymn, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.”
I recall being at a joint concert of the Morehouse and Spelman College Glee Clubs in Atlanta shortly after Trump’s election in November 2016. On “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” the entire congregation rose in unison, singing their hope and resolve, in the face of that stunning and bewildering outcome of the 2016 election and the unknown future before us.
Now, well . . . It’s a new day. The people may not have rejected all the policies associated with Donald Trump. But they, we, have rejected, the man. In doing so we have said his kind of bullying and deceit, his indecency and self-aggrandizement is not who we are or who we want to be.
And so, it is a day to sing again Johnson’s epic words, borne of the experience and suffering of African-Americans.
“Lift every voice and sing, till earth and heaven ring, ring with
harmonies of liberty; Let our rejoicing rise, high as the listening skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea . . .”
Or if you don’t sing it, listen to what was long known as “The Negro National Anthem,” in tribute to the huge role that many African-Americans have played in this election, often waiting in long lines and having to persist through years of voter suppression efforts.
Here’s a great recording of “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” by the Howard University Gospel Choir, if you don’t have one handy.
A lighter touch, but huge fun and joy, is a doctored version of “O Happy Day” from the Whoppi Goldberg movie, “Sister Act.” It’s happy and fun, not unkind. Enjoy.
For now, celebrate. Plenty of challenges await on the morrow!
My personal thanks to the many, many of you who wrote letters, made calls, canvassed and contributed to the election of Joe Biden and Kamala Harris. It was a group effort which will need to continue in the days and weeks to come.