The National Football League will now be including “Life Every Voice And Sing,” the song recognized as the “Black National Anthem”, in the league’s opening ceremonies starting at the September 9 season opener, according to BET.
Front Office Sports states that bringing the Black National Anthem to the NFL is a part of the league’s social justice messaging initiative. Written as a poem by activist James Weldon Johnson in 1900, actually had the music composed to the lyrics by his brother John Rosamond Johnson. Life Every Voice was a very integral part of the Civil Rights Movement and was used as a rallying call by the NAACP in the 50s and 60s.
August 14 will mark the fifth anniversary of 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick’s kneeling protest during the Star-Spangled Banner in response to the country’s police brutality epidemic. Last year, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell apologized for silencing the peaceful protests of Kaepernick and other players during the National Anthem.
Goodell stated, “We were wrong for not listening to NFL players earlier and encourage all to speak out and peacefully protest.”