On Hunger Strike Till Victory is Won

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City officials offered a deal to the hunger strikers at Dyett High School, but that only strengthened their resolve.

by Bob Simpson 

THE WORDS of James Weldon Johnson’s “Lift Every Voice and Sing” echoed down Drexel Avenue on Chicago’s South Side on the mild summer evening of September 8. Down the street from the Chicago home of President Obama, the Dyett hunger strikers and their supporters, holding candles in the deepening darkness, shared this song that is often called the Black National Anthem:

Lift every voice and sing
Till earth and heaven ring
Ring with the harmonies of Liberty;
let our rejoicing rise,
high as the listening skies, let it resound loud as the rolling sea
sing a song full of 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.

It was an opportunity for the hunger strikers and their supporters to reflect on the centuries-old African American struggle for freedom and their role in the struggle–Day 23 of the hunger strike to create the Walter Dyett High School for Global Leadership and Green Technology at the now-closed Dyett High School building in Chicago’s Washington Park. Continue reading