Ray Charles, “Lift Every Voice And Sing”

For the past month, the subheading for The Recoup has proclaimed this to be the best Black History Month ever. I wasn’t being facetious! I’ve really enjoyed my forays into the vast and interesting and wonderfully diverse corners of Black culture. I could have easily picked another twenty-eight tracks and had an equally wonderful experience. Heck, I could pick a whole year’s worth of Black music and still never feel complete. What does that tell you?

It tells you that there is a wonderful wealth of Black culture just waiting for you to discover!

At the beginning of this month, I stated that I do not limit my view of Black History Month as a strictly American phenomenon, simply because that is way too limiting to the wonderful scope of Black contributions to music and the arts. I didn’t really have a planned-out list of who would be featured; I played it by ear, letting my whims and my interests lead me to discover sounds and performances by artists known and unknown, familiar and foreign.

 .

We close with “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” a song commonly known as the “Black National Anthem.” Though I understand and appreciate the sentiment behind that description, I think it’s way, way too limiting–the songs speaks to all of humanity, irrespective of race or nationality.

The sentiment of the line “Sing a song full of 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” rings true to the African-American experience, to be sure, but every man, woman, and child should consider it the goal to set to make the world a better, more beautiful place.

Every month should be Black History Month. You’ll be amazed at the wonders you’ll find if you just keep that in mind

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