May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem

Imani Perry (Author)

Product Details

$26.00  $23.92
University of North Carolina Press
Publish Date
February 19, 2018
7.89 X 9.34 X 0.97 inches | 1.16 pounds

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About the Author

Imani Perry is the Hughes-Rogers Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University, where she also teaches in the Programs in Law and Public Affairs, and Gender and Sexuality Studies. Perry holds a BA from Yale and a PhD in American Studies and law degree from Harvard. She is the author of Prophets of the Hood: Politics and Poetics in Hip Hop and More Beautiful and More Terrible: The Embrace and Transcendence of Racial Inequality in the United States.


Perry provides exegesis and exhortation in explaining how a song captured a culture, and in turn became a cultural captive held fast by emotional ties of a diverse people; hers is a work for adolescents and academics, indeed for any readers interested in at least glimpsing a sense of a pulsing, resilient black consciousness. Highly recommended.--Library Journal, starred review

Through extensive research and eloquent writing, Perry. . . expertly sifts through the layers of black civic, social and cultural history that are inextricably linked to 'Lift Every Voice and Sing.'--San Francisco Chronicle

Excellently researched and sourced.--Michigan Historical Review

As a concise look at twentieth-century black activism through the lens of one composition, the book works exceedingly well. . . . Perry's book is a timely reminder of histories forgotten and voices unremembered.--Journal of American History

Perry has masterfully researched and written an accessible and captivating cultural history of a transformative and uplifting song adorned with lyrics that have encouraged black people while mirroring their evolution over the past hundred years.--Journal of African American History

Imani Perry has done a great service to the field of African American history in tracking this often-cited song through hundreds of black organizations, plays, and works of literature during the twentieth century. In the process, she has made clear that, at least during the age of segregation, a black nation was made in part through singing 'Lift Every Voice and Sing.'--Journal of Southern History