Author, inventor, and former PG County Maryland educator Dr. Eugene Williams Sr. is on a mission to get the NBA to commence singing the Negro National Anthem “Lift Every Voice” before the regular season games and the anticipated All-Star game for Black History Month. Mr. Williams got the inspiration to request this after sitting home and asking Alexa (the amazon virtual assistant) to play the spiritual for his listening pleasure. He later concluded that requesting a league of 70% Black Americans to play the song before games was not a tall order. Mr. Williams did not just let this strike of inspiration leave him after the initial thought – he turned it into action starting with the Washington Wizards. After very diligent attempts to correspond with the team he received a response from the Wizards informing him that the team would play the Negro National Anthem for the month of February.
After that dream was realized most of us would have stopped and taken the win there, but Eugene continued to reach out to the Cleveland Cavaliers to request their commitment as well. In fact, his ultimate dream will be to have the entire NBA adopt the tradition of singing this song all season long as opposed to just during Black History Month.
As we all know, the NBA All-Star game is one of the biggest events on the leagues calendar with all of the pageantry and celebrity sightings. This will be the ultimate stage for the entire nation to not only witness this homage to Black America but educate all Americans of the song’s existence and relevance. With such a tumultuous 2017-2018 NFL season, racially, socially and politically charged by kneeling during the National Anthem this will be uplifting for our nation.
Dr. Eugene Williams has inspired front offices in the National Basketball Association to adopt this song into their proceedings and I believe it is our job to help this dream continue.