Music Minute: Louise Shropshire, "We Shall Overcome"

Feb 14, 2018


Today’s music minute honors the woman who inspired one of the most powerful protest-anthems of the Civil Rights movement, "We Shall Overcome"

The song is based off of lyrics written by composer Louise Shropshire, who was born in 1913.

Her original song, ‘If My Jesus Wills’, was adapted by folk singer Pete Seeger in the 1940’s.  



Seeger would eventually come to acknowledge Shropshire, and in the early 1990s, asked to have his name removed from the song.

The song was held under copyright protection for years.

But in January, a judge ruled that the song belongs in the public domain.

Louise’s grandson, Robert, says his grandmother’s wish was for her music to spread as far as possible.