Commentary: Defending the Black National Anthem

Despite its empowering lyrics, Professor Timothy Askew sees a different message in the Black national anthem,  "Lift Every Voice and Sing," written by poet James Weldon Johnson. Askew, an Associate Professor of English at Clark University in Atlanta, recently told CNN that he loves the song, but its label as the "Black national anthem" makes him feel "tension and confusion." After researching the spiritual as a Yale graduate student, Askew decided that the song's "national anthem" label spurs separatism rather than unity... Here's what you had to say: Informed and enlightened commented: "Why is it that all other races have their own anthems, songs, schools and neighborhoods and no one says a word. The minute Black folks do it, it's a problem." Adamnshame wrote: "All this time, I didn't know that 'Lift Every Voice and Sing' was the Black national anthem. Why can't it just be called an American anthem?"
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