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Lifting Every Voice: My Journey from Segregated Roanoke to the Corridors of Power by William B. Robertson with Becky Hatcher Crabtree

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In 1919, the NAACP dubbed “Lift Every Voice and Sing” the “Negro national anthem,” and it is still viewed as the Black national anthem. In 1970, William B. Robertson, the author of this memoir, saw his voice lifted and he began to sing when Republican Governor Linwood Holton hired him as the first Black person to serve as an advisor to a Virginia governor. He went on to serve the Reagan, Bush, Nixon, Ford, and Carter Presidential Administrations. He grew up in Roanoke, graduated from the HBCU, Bluefield State just across the West Virginia line. It’s library now is named for him. Robertson earned a graduate degree from Radford University. He died at the age of 88 in 2021, so he never held this book in his hands, and he wrote it when age perhaps did not help him to always make clear the progression of his life. “Civil rights literature has not always done a good job of showing how the protests of the sixties marked the beginning of the dismantling of state-sanctioned discrimination, not the end. Bill Robertson’s invaluable memoir, on the other hand, chronicles those changes, from the grass roots to the highest government channels.” Andrew B. Lewis.

 Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 2022. 197 pages with a Foreword by Linwood Holton, an Index, Bibliography, Appendix, and photos. Hardback in dust jacket.