A little over 6 months ago, Eugene Williams from Clinton Maryland decided to make it his mission to have NBA teams play "Lift Every Voice And Sing" also known as the Negro National Anthem before games during Black History Month.
He started with his local team, the Washington Wizards.
At that time, he didn't get a response.
After the Wizards, he tried the Celtics, and every other team in NBA.
No one took interest.
But that didn't stop this determined gentleman from continuing to make calls.
Like the saying goes, "If at first you don't succeed, try, try again".
That's exactly what Williams did, until finally the Washington Wizards agreed to do it.
Wednesday evening before the Wizards play against the Golden State Warriors, the Negro National Anthem will be played.
The team gave Eugene free tickets to the game so that he could be there to hear the song he pushed so hard to be played.
In case you're wondering why this song means so much to Eugene and other African Americans, see the lyrics below.
Lift Every Voice and Sing
James Weldon Johnson, 1871 - 1938
Lift every voice and sing,
Till earth and heaven ring,
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
Let our rejoicing rise
High as the list’ning skies,
Let it resound loud as the rolling sea.
Sing a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us,
Sing a song full of the hope that the present has brought us;
Facing the rising sun of our new day begun,
Let us march on till victory is won.
Stony the road we trod,
Bitter the chast’ning rod,
Felt in the days when hope unborn had died;
Yet with a steady beat,
Have not our weary feet
Come to the place for which our fathers sighed?
We have come over a way that with tears has been watered.
We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered,
Out from the gloomy past,
Till now we stand at last
Where the white gleam of our bright star is cast.
God of our weary years,
God of our silent tears,
Thou who hast brought us thus far on the way;
Thou who hast by Thy 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 met Thee,
Lest our hearts, drunk with the wine of the world, we forget Thee;
Shadowed beneath Thy hand,
May we forever stand,
True to our God,
True to our native land.