Let Our Rejoicing Rise

In celebration of Black History Month at UIC and in recognition of how Black women’s voice and performance have been important to Black struggle and resistance, we lift up the now-familiar song “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” written by James Weldon Johnson and set to music by J. Rosamond Johnson in 1899, with three opportunities for the UIC community:

Dr. Sonya Donaldson wearing a light yellow coat and smiling toward the camera

Singing the Nation: Memory, Meaning, and Resistance in “Lift Every Voice and Sing”

Thursday, February 25, 2021
3-5pm CST

Join us for a lecture by Dr. Sonya Donaldson, New Jersey City University, about the ways that Black women’s voices have been used in public performances, including this song, to promote a sense of “we-ness” at different moments in U.S. history.

CART live captioning will be provided. Please send any questions or additional accommodation requests to wlrc@uic.edu.

Thanks to the UIC African American Cultural Center and Honors College for co-sponsoring this Black History Month keynote lecture.

Red and black text on a beige background with black music notes and red circles

Call for Submissions: Let Our Rejoicing Rise


We invite UIC students to submit a video recording responding to the following prompts:

  1. What are your earliest memories of “Lift Every Voice and Sing”?
  2. Given this current historical moment, tell us what the song means to you.
  3. Sing as many verses of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” as you can.

Performances and stories will be featured on our website and as part of the “Singing The Nation into Being” digital humanities project led by Dr. Sonya Donaldson.

Please send your submissions by March 30, 2021 to wlrc@uic.edu.

Co-sponsored by the UIC African American Cultural Center.

Crystal Schwartz, wearing a purple top and a black sweater, peeks out from behind a big tree.

Save the Date!

Thursday, March 18, 2021
12-1pm CST

Join WLRC and the UIC Disability Cultural Center for a special workshop with educator and activist Crystal Schwartz, who will teach us to sign portions of “Lift Every Voice and Sing” in American Sign Language. Details coming soon!