Tulsa native Majeste Pearson sings “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” designated by the NAACP as the Black National Anthem, at The Historic Vernon A.M.E. Church.
- [Narrator] At the AME Church in Greenwood, rebuilt after the events of 1921 and a potent symbol of hope, Majeste Pearson recently rehearsed Lift Every Voice and Sing.
The NAACP in the early 1900s, designated the song the Negro National Anthem.
Majeste plans to perform the anthem on the centennial of the massacre, May 31st, 2021.
(gentle music) ♪ Lift every voice and sing ♪ Till earth and heaven ring ♪ Ring with the harmonies of Liberty ♪ - I guess the great hope is that this will never happen again, if you tell the story but people have to have to be reminded that it did happen.
And there has to be justice for the descendants of those who survived, and the descendants of those who were killed in the massacre.
What that justice looks like, that's something that they'll have to define.
But until they obtain justice for this massacre, there can't be healing.
- I can't help but hold on to hope because other than that, it would have killed me.
And I can tell you this, the very folks that go out and kill other folks, right?
I say this all the time, dead people kill people.
Dead people are out here on the streets with the AK-47s, they have no spirit of humanity, they have no spirit of God, so they're already dead, that's why they have no problem killing you.
So I'mma continue to live.
I'mma continue to say, as long as I got breath, right, we got time to get it right.
So as long as I got life, we got time to get it right.
And we hold on to that.
Other than that, we'd go crazy.
- History gives us moments to reflect.
History gives us moments to look back and to examine where we've come, how far we've come from that moment.
It gives us an opportunity to ask what have we achieved since then, and to also come to grips with the fact that perhaps we haven't come far enough.
♪ Let our rejoicing rise ♪ High as the listening, listening skies ♪ ♪ Let it resound loud as the rolling sea ♪ - So there's no question that on the centennial, May 31st, June 1st, 2021, the eyes of the world will be on Tulsa.
The operative question will be, how has Tulsa changed over the course of this 100 years?
My perspective is that the Centennial Commission wants the world to know that Tulsa has acknowledged its history and is working on the slow and arduous process of healing that history.
We're not there yet.
We're working on it.
♪ Sing a song full of the hope ♪ 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 ♪ Let us march on till victory ♪ Let us march on till victory is won ♪ ♪ Till it's won (gentle somber music)