All posts tagged: Juneteenth

Lift Every Voice and Sing

In honor of Juneteenth (+ 1), I want to use my Saturday Soundtrack post to celebrate the song known as the “Black National Anthem” — none other than the soul-stirring Lift Every Voice and Sing. With words by James Weldon Johnson and music by his brother John, Lift Every Voice and Sing was written at the turn of the 20th century, a time when Jim Crow laws were beginning to take hold across the South and Blacks were looking for an identity. In a way that was both gloriously uplifting and starkly realistic, it spoke to the history of the dark journey of African Americans. “It allows us to acknowledge all of the brutalities and inhumanities and dispossession that came with enslavement, that came with Jim Crow, that comes still today with disenfranchisement, police brutality, dispossession of education and resources,” Shana Redmond — author of Anthem: Social Movements and the Sound of Solidarity in the African Diaspora — says. “It continues to announce that we see this brighter future, that we believe that something will …

Thomas Merton’s Revelation About Slack Key Guitar…

…or how life on the road can become a bit confusing. Since the middle of May, I’ve traveled to Detroit, Honolulu, Chicago and Plano (twice), Seattle, Louisville, New York City (twice), and occasionally I’ve been here in Washington.  On Monday, I leave for Hot Spring, South Dakota. It has been a month where I’ve been with great friends and colleagues and have seen and experienced so many wonderful things…but they do have a tendency to get jumbled up when you spend so much time on planes and trains.  So forgive me if I have a famous monk playing some wonderful slack key guitar along the way. Here’s my grab-bag – in no particular order – of things sacred, wonderful and (perhaps) absurd from a month on the road. Cyril Pahinui is the Epitome of Cool I was in Honolulu to work with colleagues and partners to try to save the Natatorium, a beautiful if neglected saltwater pool and war memorial. While there, my colleague Brian Turner and I – both lovers of roots music – …