The Truth About the National Anthem

Why should we never, ever stop singing “Lift Every Voice And Sing?” We show reverence to the “The Star-Spangled Banner” (aka SSB) and scoff at singing the Black National Anthem. There is something very, very wrong with that picture.

First, here’s the history behind the SSB and it’s author, Francis Scott Key. We all know the first half of the story on why he penned this poem. Yes, he was a prisoner of war on a British ship during the War of 1812. Yes, he was watching the American troops battle back the invading British in Baltimore. That’s what we were taught in public school. But there’s more to the story. Follow me as I present the “facts” …

  • Key was an aristocrat and city prosecutor in Washington, D.C.
  • Key thought that since blacks were mentally inferior, masters should treat them with more Christian kindness
  • Key supported sending free blacks (not slaves) back to Africa
  • And, Key especially had a problem with the Colonial Marines, a battalion of runaway slaves who joined the British Royal Army in exchange for their freedom. He really held disdain for these soldiers when Key and his troops ran into the battalion and were beat down so bad that Key and his soldiers fled back to his home in Georgetown to lick their wounds.

With that being said, one can understand Key’s mindset when he wrote the 3rd stanza of the SSB. In a nutshell, it is a diss to black people who had the audacity to fight for their freedom. Jason Johnson, political editor at “The Root,” broke down this history and worked on an excellent documentary about the history of the SSB with some students at Morgan State University. Look it up. This may be the reason that we only sing the 1st stanza of the song.

So, we should never, ever stop singing the Black National Anthem because it says something about our legacy, our heritage, and our history which is not taught in public schools. It addresses the pain, the victories, the opportunities, and the challenges that we, as a people, have faced in our country. Our anthem is as American and patriotic as the other. Sing it loud and sing it clear. Sing it so that every man, woman, and child will hear. It’s the African American story, hold it close and hold it dear. I’ve cut and pasted it below, so lend our ear.


The Spirit of Juneteenth…….By Tom Feelings
“But, if this part of our history could be told in such a way that those chains of the past, those shackles that physically bound us together against our wills could, in the telling, become spiritual links that willingly bind us together now and into the future – then that painful Middle Passage could become, ironically, a positive connecting line to all of us whether living inside or outside the continent of Africa…”     

The passage above truly captures the spirit of Juneteenth and the mission of  Read it slowly, several times, until you internalize its message – then you will know and feel the passion, the inspiration and the necessity of our cause.  

“Juneteenth is a day of reflection, a day of renewal, a pride-filled day.  It is a moment in time taken to appreciate the African American experience.  It is inclusive of all races, ethnicities and nationalities – as nothing is more comforting than the hand of a friend.””Juneteenth serves symbolically, and in reality, as a reference point from which to measure and appreciate the progress and contributions made by African Americans to this society.”“Juneteenth is a day on which honor and respect is paid for the sufferings of slavery. It is a day on which we acknowledge the evils of slavery and its aftermath.  On Juneteenth we talk about our history and realize because of it, there will forever be a bond between us.””On Juneteenth we think about that moment in time when the enslaved in Galveston, Texas received word of their freedom.  We imagine the depth of their emotions, their jubilant dance and their fear of the unknown.””Juneteenth is a day that we commit to each other the needed support as family, friends and co-workers.   It is a day we build coalitions that enhance African American economics.” “On Juneteenth we come together young and old to listen, to learn and to refresh the drive to achieve. It is a day where we all take one step closer together – to better utilize the energy wasted on racism. Juneteenth is a day that we pray for peace and liberty for all.”      

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Something Inside So Strong…Written by Monica Russo, New Orleans, 4/22/2017

Constitution and Bylaws

Please note:  The Executive Board and the Ad Hoc Team began working on amendments and revisions to the current Constitution and Bylaws earlier this year. The completion date has tentatively been set for mid-year 2020.  

Constitution and Bylaws of The African American Caucus of the Service Employees International (SEIU)  – click here for the full copy-