Capt. Levi M. Hood Lodge. Lift Every Voice and Sing (National Negro Hymn).
Song lyrics to James Weldon Johnson’s poem often called the “Black National Anthem”
Rare, unrecorded broadside or song sheet for “Lift Every Voice and Sing” with the poem/lyrics written by Jacksonville, Florida native James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938), African American poet, author, and civil rights activist. Johnson’s 1900 poem —set to music in 1905 by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954)— is often called the “Black National Anthem” or, as seen here, the “National Negro Hymn.” Johnson is perhaps best known for his 1912 novel The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man.
This broadside was issued by the Capt. Levi M. Hood Lodge (No. 159) of the Improved Benevolent and Protective Order of Elks of the World (IBPOEW), a black fraternal group in West Chester, Pennsylvania. The broadside’s small size was likely intended as to be comfortably held in one’s hand, and perhaps to serve as a mnemonic device for members singing the anthem within the lodge.
Description: Capt. Levi M. Hood Lodge. Lift Every Voice and Sing (National Negro Hymn).
[Likely West Chester, Pennsylvania, c.1930s–1940s?]. 7 x 4¼ inches. Small broadside or song sheet. Illustration cut. Very good.