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Black America's new stanza on patriotism

   For black Americans, a population historically marginalized because of  skin color, traditional displays of patriotism haven't been easy to embrace.

   And for some, that can even include the national anthem.

   Instead, the song, "Lift Every Voice and Sing," is revered.

   The Rev. Joseph Lowery began the benediction of President Obama's inauguration with a recitation of the last stanza of the popular hymn. Long considered "The Negro National Anthem," it is not uncommon for "Lift Every Voice and Sing" to compete and, sometimes, even supplant the "Star Spangled Banner" during  momentous events in the black community.

    An alternative to the national anthem is an example of the complicated nature of patriotism for African-Americans, whose history in this country is rooted in slavery and defined by racism -- fueling  feelings of distrust and resentment.

   But the unprecedented political success of President Obama is changing opinions and redefining the idea of patriotism among  some African-Americans, many of whom stood on the National Mall on Jan. 20, waving flags, immersed in a visible display of patriotism.

   What are your thoughts?

   -- Emma D. Sapong

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Race relations
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