Lift Every Voice & Sing

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Augusta Savage was an African American woman that started sculpting at a very young age. She was very active in the Work Progress Administration and also maintained a teaching studio in Harlem, New York. This Harp would symbolize a musical contribution for African Americans because the American flag was a symbol for Americans. She received inspiration to create this sculpture by the song Lift Every Voice and Sing. This song is basically a National Anthem for Africans Americans also known as Black America. Savage received a small bronze version of the sculpture as an award at the World Fair. Savage founded the Harlem Arts Guild in 1935 and was the first director of the Harlem Community Art Center in 1937. The sculpture is beautiful. It is clearly made up of African Americans and they are placed on a hand. The front person is kneeling down, while everyone else is standing very poise. Savage did some amazing artwork. The people standing are also singing. In the Black community at this time, singing was an outlet for prayer and optimism through difficult times.

Simone’s song is a very catchy jazz song. The use of loud and hard trumpets are so fierce that the song gives one chills sometimes. Simone uses this song to not only elevate her voice, but to demonstrate some illusions in connection to Blackness in American during this time. She starts by describing her day and what she sees. She describes seeing birds, the sun, and even feeling the breeze. This song is a take on how Simone views the world and how the she feels about the world. This is sort of ironic because while Black people have freedom in society at this time, Maya Angelou continues to advocate for a lack of freedom because Blacks feel like caged birds. Simone discusses the luxury of life and feeling good about it. We can connect this to her being satisfied that a lot of social issues at this time towards African Americans are slowly progressing.