State money sought for ‘Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing’ Park

james weldon johnson

The song “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing“, called the “black national anthem” by some, is among the most iconic in American history … and it has a Jacksonville connection.

James Weldon Johnson wrote the lyrics as a poem.

His brother set the words to music, and 117 years ago this month, the song was performed by 500 school children in the Johnsons’ hometown.

The song was soon thereafter adopted as the official song of the NAACP, and has offered inspiration for generations in the ongoing struggle for civil rights.

And now, State Rep. Tracie Davis seeks to ensure, via an appropriations bill, that the song is never forgotten by locals.

HB 3123 would appropriate $100,000 for the use of the Durkeeville Historical Society for the purposes of establishing a permanent historical location to commemorate the signature work of the Johnson brothers.

Conceivably, the park could serve as a tourist draw.

Beyond that, it would also serve as an educational tool for school children and for at-risk youth, asserts the appropriations request.

A.G. Gancarski

A.G. Gancarski has written for since 2014. He is based in Northeast Florida. He can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter: @AGGancarski


  • Doris Orr-Richardson

    February 14, 2017 at 10:16 pm

    It’s about time that this long overdue project is brought to light and given some recognition.

  • Doris Orr-Richardson

    February 14, 2017 at 10:20 pm

    It’s about time that this long overdue project is brought to light and given some recognition. The Johnson brothers are hometown heros and they should be noted as such and celebrated and recognized properly. I’m in , where do I vote, sign, or donate.

  • Joyce Orr

    February 14, 2017 at 10:41 pm

    Great concept. How can people donate?

  • Mary Orr Barrington

    February 23, 2017 at 9:11 pm

    This is an AWESOME idea! Count me in!

Comments are closed.


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