The Mudcat Café TM
Thread #19551 Message #266216
Posted By: Joe Offer
27-Jul-00 - 10:11 PM
Thread Name: Gospel Origin-Civil Rights & Labor Songs
Subject: Origin: We Shall Overcome
My Sing Out! reprints book says "We Shall Overcome" is an adaptation of an African American gospel song - adaptation was by Lucille Simmons and members of the Food & Tobacco Workers Union (Charleston, SC), Zilphia Horton, Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan, Pete Seeger, and the Southern Civil Rights Movement.
This song, which has become almost an unofficial theme song of the integration movement in the South, is an adaptation of an old hymn. A number of years ago, members of the CIO Food and Tobacco Workers Union introduced the song at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. At the height of the successful Montggomery (Alabama) bus boycott led by Rev. Martin Luther King, a few years back, it was sung by Negroes in the face of a hostile mob - and television cameras caught the simple, moving dignity of the song and the people who sang it for the entire nation to see and hear. My question: what gospel song did "We Shall Overcome" come from, and can somebody post the lyrics?