We shall overcome

We shall overcome. African American Song, source unknown. The origins of this powerful song have been outlined by Eileen Southern: ‘the opening and closing phrases point back to the old spiritual, “No more auction block for me”, and the [chorus] of Charles Albert Tindley*’s gospel hymn “I’ll overcome some day”’ (Southern, 1997, pp. 471-2). A version of the spiritual appeared under the title ‘Many thousand gone’ in The Story of the Jubilee Singers (Marsh, 1875).   Tindley’s hymn, one of eight he published in 1901, was popular shortly after its publication, then went into a decline for a number of years, reappearing in New Songs of Zion (Philadelphia, 1941) under the title ‘Ye shall overcome...

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