African American Music Giving Voice to Resistance and Political Movements

The Civil Rights Movement was a major concerted effort by African Americans and allied whites across the country to gain basic rights and dignities that were denied to them, often by force and brutality, during the Jim Crow Era.  Music lifted spirits and united protestors while strengthening their resolve.  One song emerged as an anthem for the movement, "We Shall Overcome." Although the song's exact origins are unclear, most scholars agree that it has roots in African American spirituals and in particular, a hymn titled "I'll Overcome Some Day," by Charles Tindley. "We Shall Overcome" was sung repeatedly on the marches from Selma to Montgomery in Alabama.  It resonated with the protestors and became associated with the Civil Rights Movement cause.