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We Shall Overcome: A Song That Changed the World
“We Shall Overcome” isn’t a complicated piece of music. The first verse has only
twenty-two words, most of them repeated. The melody is straightforward. The
chords are basic. Yet the song has had a profound effect on people throughout the
United States—and the world.
In clear, accessible language Stuart Stotts explores the roots of the tune and
the lyrics in traditional African music and Christian hymns. He demonstrates the
key role “We Shall Overcome” played in the civil rights, labor, and anti-war
movements in America, and he traces the song’s transformation into an
international anthem. With its dramatic stories and memorable quotes, this saga of
a famous piece of music offers a unique way of looking at social history.
The book is illustrated with a combination of archival photographs and original
illustrations that help to bring the historical narrative to life.
Author’s note, bibliography, source notes, and index are also included. Text is suitable for grades 4 and above. The
accompanying CD features Pete Seeger performing 'We Shall Overcome".72