Margaret Reist, Lincoln (Nebraska) Journal Star, March 9, 2009
A Lakeview Elementary parent is upset the audience of a school program on Martin Luther King Jr. was asked to stand for a song known as the black national anthem.
Two teachers performed the song, “Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing”–known to some as the “Black National Anthem”–as part of a 15-minute program during Black History Month.
Russ Roberts, who has a first-grade daughter and fourth-grade son at Lakeview, said he was shocked when the audience was asked to stand for the song after it was identified as the “Black National Anthem.”
He said he doesn’t object to the song, but the way it was presented gave the mistaken impression to students that there are two national anthems.
In a letter responding to his concerns, Principal Sudie Bock said the teachers intended to show respect for the historical journey and contributions of African Americans in United States history.
The program was the culmination of learning more about African Americans who have contributed to society, culture and the strength of the nation, she said.
“We do that every day in our curriculum,” she said. “We want our kids to see themselves and how we work together.”