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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