We Shall Overcome

I caught myself singing something really weird today.  The words went like these:

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome some day

I then realized that I have absolutely no idea what that is and where do I know it from.  Wikipedia to the rescue.  Apparently, these are the lyrics from the “We Shall Overcome” song.

“We Shall Overcome” is a protest song that became a key anthem of the African-American Civil Rights Movement (1955–1968). The title and structure of the song are derived from an early gospel song, “I’ll Overcome Someday”, by African-American composer Charles Albert Tindley. The song was published in 1947 as “We Will Overcome” in the People’s Songs Bulletin


The song became associated with the Civil Rights movement from 1959, when Guy Carawan stepped in as song leader at Highlander, which was then focussed on non-violent civil rights activism. It quickly became the movement’s unofficial anthem. Seeger and other famous folksingers in the early 1960s, such as Joan Baez, sang the song at rallies, folk festivals, and concerts in the North and helped make it widely known. Since its rise to prominence, the song, and songs based on it, have been used in a variety of protests worldwide.

That is very helpful.  Yet it still doesn’t explain where I know it from.  I guess it might have been used as background music in a movie that I’ve seen or something like that.  Because I really doubt that it would resurface from my high school memories, when I learned tonnes of weird stuff.

4 thoughts on “We Shall Overcome”

    1. It is a possibility, but I don’t remember it ever being played at home. Also, the version I remember differs from the one in the video. I think it was a black woman singing it, not a white dude. :)

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