We Shall Overcome
About the Song
This song began as an African American spiritual "I'll Be All Right". The song evolved over a long period, particularly changing as it was used as a protest song during a tobacco workers strike in Charleston South Carolina led by Lucille Simmons in 1945. The song was first published in 1947 the Peoples Song Bulletin, the predecssor of Sing Out! Magazine, of which Pete Seeger was the editor.
Various people contributed to the evolution of the song including Zilphia Horton & Guy Carawan (both dirctors of the Highlander Folk School), Pete Seeger & many singers in the Civil Rights Movement.
After a lengthy complicated trial the judge ruled that the copyright had expired due to non-renewal.
Jim Brown made a PBS documentary film made about the history of the song released in 1989. imdb.com/title/tt0230967/