In 1961 Charles White provided a drawing for the cover of the Communist-leaning Mainstream magazine, Vol. 14, No. 2, February 1961. This was the magazine's Negro History Week 1961 special issue. The drawing was Lift Every Voice (no date recorded in the magazine), named after Lift Every Voice and Sing – the iconic song known for many years as the Negro National Anthem. It was a song written as a poem by James Weldon Johnson (1871–1938) in 1900 and several years later, set to music by his brother John Rosamond Johnson (1873–1954).
Mainstream magazine was published monthly by Masses & Mainstream, Inc.