"We Shall Overcome" is a protest song and a gospel song. It's thought of as an anthem for the Civil Rights Movement in the USA. Martin Luther King Jr. used parts of it in a speech in 1965, as well as in his last speech in 1968….

"We shall overcome. We shall overcome. Deep in my heart I do believe we shall overcome. And I believe it because somehow the arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends towards justice." -MLK

It was sung by Pete Seeger, Joan Baez and other folk singers in the '60's. It became widely known and different versions have been used in protests all over the world. The version below is one often sung by Pete Seeger.

Notes

The earliest known published version was "I'll Overcome Some Day" by Charles Albert Tindley circa 1900. It seems it was already part of the folk tradition when he published it. A more modern version was published in the September 1948 issue of the "People's Songs Bulletin" and was called "We Will Overcome".

There are many verses that are sung. Here are some of them:

-We shall all be free…
-The whole wide world around…
-We are not alone…
-The truth will set us free…
-Black and white together...

It's sometimes sung as a gospel song with this verse:

-The Lord will see us through...

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In the video below, they also repeat a verse with the line, "We shall all be free."

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