Ask MRN: What is name of song played before National Anthem at recent QU basketball game?

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Dear MRN, 

My husband recently attended a basketball game at Quincy University. He said they stood for the National Anthem to be played, and another song with indistinguishable words was played first. I called the Health and Fitness Center, and they said it was the NCAA inclusion song. The only song I found under that search was filthy, so now I am really wondering what was played and, more important, why any song would be played before the National Anthem as a matter of honor.

After checking with Carla Kielsmeier, associate athletic director of external operations and senior woman administrator at Quincy University, the name of the song played before the Jan. 16 game (on Martin Luther King Day) against Drury University is “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” 

Kielsmeier said the song is a part of a Great Lakes Valley Conference initiative to promote diversity and inclusion. The conference has asked all GLVC institutions to play the same rendition of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before the National Anthem on MLK Day and all through February in celebration of Black History Month. Kielsmeier said the university was provided the song and the script reading that occurs before it is played each time. 

“Lift Every Voice and Sing” was a hymn written as a poem by National Association for the Advancement of Colored People leader James Weldon Johnson in 1900. His brother, John Rosamond Johnson (1873-1954), composed the music for the lyrics. 

The NAACP dubbed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as the “Negro National Anthem” in 1919 for its power in voicing a cry for liberation and affirmation for African American people. Set against the religious invocation of God and the promise of freedom, the song was later adopted by NAACP and prominently used as a rallying cry during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1950s and 1960.

Here are the lyrics of the song.

Lift every voice and sing, 
‘Til earth and heaven ring, 
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty; 
Let our rejoicing rise 
High as the skies, 
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea. 
Sing a song full of the 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 ’til victory is won. 
Stony the road we trod, 
Bitter the chastening rod, 
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died; 
Yet with a steady beat, 
Have not our weary feet 
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed? 
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, 
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered, 
Out from the gloomy past, 
‘Til now we stand at last 
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast. 
God of our weary years, 
God of our silent tears, 
Thou who has brought us thus far on the way; 
Thou who has by Thy might 
Led us into the light, 
Keep us forever in the path, we pray. 
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God, where we met Thee, 
our hearts drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee; 
Shadowed beneath Thy hand, 
May we forever stand, 
True to our God, 
True to our native land.

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