Cultural Hegemony & African American Patriotism: An Analysis of the Song Lift Every Voice and Sing (2nd Edition)

Author: Timothy Askew
ISBN 13: 978-1-60797-823-7
ISBN 10: 1-60797-823-7



“Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written in 1900 by James Weldon Johnson and John
Rosamond Johnson, has enjoyed enormous popularity throughout the twentieth century. African American educational, political, and cultural leaders have contributed to the wide reception of this song, proclaiming to members of the black race that it is the Black National Anthem. With the song’s popularity throughout the twentieth century, however, have come changing attitudes among black leaders and other members of the black race about the importance of “Lift Every Voice.” The song reached its peak in the
1930’s, but its decline occurred during the Civil Rights Movement in the 1960’s. African American political and cultural leaders revived “Lift Every Voice” in the early 1970’s. In contemporary America, the song remains popular, but some Americans see it as a symbol of racial separatism, and other Americans embrace this song as a national hymn. The study of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” is important because of what we can learn about the political and social consciousness of African Americans during each
decade of the twentieth century through a scrutiny of responses to the song. In looking at “Lift Every Voice,” one can see evidence of W. E. B. DuBois’ idea about the duality or double-identity which has affected how many African Americans have perceived “Lift Every Voice” throughout the twentieth century. Many African Americans have been struggling to forge an identity which gives them a sense of cultural independence but which also links them to a mainstream American tapestry. My book explores historical and contemporary perceptions of this wonderful song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” provides a literary, musical, and cultural study of the song, and challenges readers to understand and revisit the significance of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in twentieth century American cultural history and in
contemporary American life.


Rich in its vast amount of research and analysis, Dr. Askew’s book, Cultural Hegemony and African American Patriotism, An Analysis of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” offers a groundbreaking study of perhaps the single-most important African American musical exemplar, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” widely known as the Black National Anthem. This new addition to American Studies and to African American Studies scholarship is an important, long-awaited text on a song whose sub-title has generated much discussion and debate. Dr. Timothy Askew’s book delivers some important answers to these questions and also provides a solid literary, musical, and cultural study that will certainly be useful as a major interdisciplinary text in American and African American Studies.

~ Late Lawrence Hanks, Ph.D.
Associate Professor of Political Science
Director of the African American Documentation Project
Indiana University/Bloomington

Dr. Timothy Askew’s timely work, Cultural Hegemony and African American Patriotism:An Analysis of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”offers groundbreaking insights on the literary,
musical, and cultural significance of James Weldon Johnson’s renowned composition.

~ Susan Prothro Wright, Ph.D.
Retired English professor
Clark Atlanta University

Dr. Timothy Askew has written a fine book that many students and scholars will find engaging and most relevant to their educational, social and cultural experiences. The book recommends itself for the voice it gives to the relevance of a single musical composition, which has inspired people for many generations, and the insights it offers in interdisciplinary studies. The book is a refreshing addition to American scholarship and will be useful to students of American studies, African American Studies, literature, music, and cultural studies.

~ Olu Osinubi, Ph.D.
Professor of English
Clark Atlanta University

About the author

Dr. Timothy Almon Askew holds a B.A. degree from Morehouse College, Summa Cum Laude with Phi Beta Kappa distinction as a junior-year inductee. He received the master’s degree at Yale University. Dr. Askew was an NCEA Doctoral Fellow in the English Department at the University of South Florida. Pursuing an
interdisciplinary degree in American Studies and focusing on American Literature and American Music, he received the Ph.D. degree at Emory University and had the distinction of being the first Ph.D. Marshal at the University. He is the recipient of numerous awards, including a 4-year Academic Scholarship, Morehouse College; Readers Digest Foundation Scholar, Morehouse College; University Fellowships, Yale University; National Consortium for Educational Access Doctoral Fellowship, The University of South Florida; University Fellowships, Emory University; The United Negro College Fund Dissertation Fellowship; Teacher of the Year, Clark Atlanta University; The N.A.A.C.P. Image Award for Excellence in Teaching English, Clark Atlanta University; National Endowment for the Humanities Scholar. Dr. Askew was the Atlanta Public Library “Lift Every Voice and Sing” Centennial Celebration Speaker at Georgia State University and has been featured in the Atlanta Constitution for his research on the song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing.” Dr. Askew is a tenured Full Professor of English and Humanities at Clark Atlanta University. He is the Founding President of Phi Kappa Phi Honor Society at Clark Atlanta University and a Sustaining Member of Phi Beta Kappa. He is the author of the following books: Cultural Hegemony and African American Patriotism: An Analysis of the Song, “Lift Every Voice and Sing” and Refreshing The
American Literary Canon, both by Linus Publications, New York. Dr. Askew is the 2017 C. Eric Lincoln Scholar at Clark Atlanta University, one of the highest honors bestowed on a professor at the university.


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