Born in 1871, James Weldon Johnson was a poet, a songwriter, an educator, a novelist, a diplomat, and an activist, the first African American to head the National Assocation for the Advancement of Colored People.
In 1900, Johnson, then a school principal in Jacksonville, Florida, wrote “Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing” for a school commemoration in honor of Abraham Lincoln’s birthday. Set to music by Johnson’s brother, the song would eventually come to be known as “the black national anthem.”
While doing a bit of research on "Lift Ev'ry Voice" for a project at school, I came across this rendition of the song, which accompanies a montage of images from African American history. It was originally presented at the African American Church Inaugural Ball. I found it pretty moving.