We Shall Overcome


Click here to view the arrangement of We Shall Overcome

I was recently working on an arrangement of We Shall Overcome, a well-known and historically significant anthem of the American civil rights movement. When arranging a piece, I generally like to base my work off of as many recordings as I'm able to get my hands on, and I also check around online and in fake books to see what chords are suggested in other arrangements. In this case, the chord progressions that I was able to find online were completely different from any recording that I could find. The fake books weren't much better. Any musician knows not to completely trust a fake book, but it seems to me that there should be an accurate transcription of this song, so I've posted mine here.

This arrangement is based off of the recording of the SNCC Freedom Singers with Pete Seeger. The recording can be found on the 4 CD Set, American Roots Music, published by Palm Pictures, and also on the CD Sing for Freedom, published by Smithsonian Folkways Records.

This song doesn't really have any one recognized composer. For information regarding it's history, please consult the Wikipedia entry.
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Dick Vogel
I was an undergraduate student at Sewanee, university of the South from 1958-62. I attended a training session at Highlander where we were trained in the techniques of peaceful resistance. The training took place in a structure that had sliding glass doors in the front. I was late, as usual, to the training seesion and had not had any experience with such doors. The ones at the school were spotless and I, being in a hurry, failed to realize they were closed. I barreled full steam, headfirst into the door and got a real "thunk' to my head. The trainer and others, after seeing that I was OK (being hard headed has it's advantages)said to the group "Now there's a young man who knows how to use his head!"