THE song considered to be the Black National Anthem is coming back to the 2021 NFL season.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" was first played before the kickoff of Week 1 contests last season, and it’s going to become a prominent part of the league’s tentpole events this season.
The “Star-Spangled Banner” is usually the only song performed before season games, including the Super Bowl and the NFL Draft.
"Lift Every Voice and Sing" was played before Super Bowl LV and reappeared during the draft in April, Fox News reported.
Its lyrics, penned by James Weldon Johnson, was a poem before it became a song when his brother John Rosamond Johnson set it to music, according to PBS.
It casts light on the country’s dark past from slavery.
“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 / Till now we stand at last / Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.”
The son debuted when it was performed by 500 school children in celebration of President Abraham Lincoln's birthday back on February 12, 1900, in Jacksonville, Florida.
The “Say Their Stories” project is also going to return to bring athletes into the fold to share the stories of victims of racial injustice, according to Front Office Sports.
It’s all part of the league’s commitment to $250million commitment over 10 years to fight back against systemic racism and back social justice causes and charities.
The NFL allowed phrases like "End Racism" to be painted in the back of teams’ end zones, and players were able to honor victims of systemic racism and police violence last year with patches and decals.
The decision to have "Lift Every Voice and Sing" perform during Week 1 games last year arose while the many metropolises were grappling with mass protests and civil unrest following the recorded murder of George Floyd in Minneapolis police officers’ custody.
NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell took time during a video presentation to address the Black Lives Matter movement and admit the league was wrong "for not listening to NFL players earlier" and then encouraged "all to speak out and peacefully protest."
We, at the National Football League, believe Black lives matter,” he said.
“I personally protest with you and want to be part of the much-needed change in this country.”
"Without Black players, there would be no National Football League and the protests around the country are emblematic of the centuries of silence, inequality and oppression of Black players, coaches, fans and staff.
“We are listening, I am listening, and I will be reaching out to players who have raised their voices and others on how we can improve and go forward for a better and more united NFL family."
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