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The 'Negro National Anthem' Flap

A singer named Rene Marie was given the chance to sing the National Anthem at Denver's State of the City address. And she did, just not the U.S. National Anthem.

Instead, she sang James Weldon Johnson's "Negro National Anthem," also known in these modern days as "The Black National Anthem." I sang it many a time as a child, and continue to at functions as an adult.

Here's a clip of singer Kim Weston singing the anthem at the Wattstax concert in Watts, California, in 1972. It has a little too much of a "hey, it's the 1970s" flavor in the arrangement for me, but the visuals are great and so is her voice:

Here are a few lyrics:

Lift Every Voice and sing till earth and heaven ring

Ring with the harmonies of liberty

Let our rejoicing rise high as the listening skies

Let it resound loud as the rolling sea

Sing a song, full of the faith that the dark past has taught us

Sing a song, full of the hope that the present has brought us

Facing the rising sum of our new day begun

Let us march on till victory is won

The local KUSA TV web site posts this about the event:

Governor Bill Ritter (D-Colorado) discussed the incident on The Mike Rosen Show on 850 KOA on Wednesday morning, calling it "inappropriate."

"I don't think it's fair artistic expression," said Ritter.

Ritter went on to say he felt Marie's actions were "wrong" and "outside the bounds."

What do you think?

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