God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
You who have brought us thus far on the way;
You who have by Your might
Led us into the light,
Keep us forever in the path, we pray.
Lest our feet stray from the places, our God,
Where we meet You;
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world,
We forget You;
Shadowed beneath Your hand,
May we forever stand
True to our God,
True to our native land.
James Weldon Johnson (1871-1938) was a leading figure in the HarlemRenaissance. Though best-known as a writer of novels, poetry, and folklore, Johnson was also an accomplished musician, professor, U.S. diplomat, anthropologist, and political activist. He wrote the lyrics to “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing,” which has since been named the Negro National Anthem by the NAACP.