Religion News Service
| by Cheryl Townsend Gilkes

Cheryl Townsend Gilkes, the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of African American Studies and Sociology, has written an essay published by Religion News Service challenging the NFL’s plan to play the song “Lift Every Voice and Sing” before its first game in September. Playing the song, often called the “Black national anthem,” would be sacrilege, Gilkes writes. “NFL stadiums are white-owned spaces where cultural battles over the U.S. national anthem have already exposed our culture’s racial hatred, predatory power and institutional domination. ‘Lift Every Voice and Sing’ is too sacred to be trotted out for public consumption at any such popular bread and circus event controlled by white ‘owners.'” 

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