In 1964, the marchers for civil rights and equality of African Americans sang the song that became known as the Civil Rights anthem: “We Shall Overcome”. With chords and words built from old spirituals, the song was the soundtrack of struggle and Dr. King’s promiseland. What some may not have known is that “We Shall Overcome” was written by folk artist Pete Seeger – a white man. Seeger’s folk music was built on a multicultural foundation, including his folk release of Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene”, which reached no. 1 on the folk charts.
“We Shall Overcome” was built on the foundation of other gospel songs, including “I’ll Overcome,” a hymn sang by striking tobacco workers while picketing in South Carolina and “We Will Overcome”, by Lucille Simmons. At the time of its development, Seeger was a part of the folk group The Weavers. He taught his version entitled “We Shall Overcome” to his fellow group members and began performing it for civil rights activists during protests.
Pete Seeger lived a life under the microscope of the government for communist activities, even going to prison in 1961. Referring to himself as a “Communist with a small c,” Seeger and The Weavers found themselves facing cancelled performances after the FBI leaked information about their affiliation with the communist party. He was indicted in 1957 on 10 counts of contempt of Congress, which was found to be false a year later. He had previously left The Weavers after they agreed to an ad for Lucky Strike cigarettes.
Seeger established the “We Shall Overcome” Fund, which is now under the care of Highlander Research and Education Center. The center provides grants to African American organizers in the South. In 1972, Pete Seeger was elected into the Songwriters Hall of Fame. He was granted the Grammy Lifetime Achievement award in 1993 and in 1994 he received a Kennedy Center Honor from President Bill Clinton and the National Medal of Arts. In 1996, he was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Given international recognition as well, Pete Seeger was issued the Order of Félix Varela, Cuba’s highest honor, in 1999.
In 2006, singer Bruce Springsteen tapped Seeger’s civil rights anthem in his release of “We Shall Overcome: The Seeger Sessions” in tribute to the legendary singer. Known for his conscience music and using his voice as an expression of the times, Pete Seeger was asked to perform “This Land is Your Land” at the 2009 Obama Inauguration.
He passed away on January 27th in New York. He was 94.
(AP Photo: This Sept. 21, 2013, file photo shows Pete Seeger performing on stage during the Farm Aid 2013 concert at Saratoga Performing Arts Center in Saratoga Springs, N.Y.)
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This Week’s Celebrity Instagrams (10/15-10/21)
31 photos Launch gallery
1. Just a NY girl with BIG dreams....
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2. HAPPY CHILDREN=QUALITY PARENTING. We don't always see eye to eye on everything and that's normal. We're human beings. But we come together and do it right for what's important, the kids. We are not enemies, we are parents. And we are parents 1st. S/O to @monyettashaw for making Mason's bday memorable. S/O to @itscrystalsmith at home taking care of our other lil' Prince. ❤️❤️❤️ THIS IS WHAT CO-PARENTING LOOKS LIKE. #Blessed #Happy #AboveTheDrama #BiggerThanUs
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3. So happy to finally be able to share with you all that I’m the new Global Brand Ambassador for @Revlon! Follow my day on RevlonSnaps. Yay! Choose Love, Everybody! #RevlonXCiara #chooselove #ad
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4. Glam on point!!!@makeupbymotoko & @shaylinjoneshair #easybreezy @lifetimetv #beachesmovie #january2017 😘
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5. ✨True love ✨📸: @jessiemarrerophotography
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7. Today was not easy..but by the grace of God we all got through it. Words cannot express our gratitude for all of your Prayers, Positive thoughts and Support for us throughout the years. Tommy will be missed but most certainly never forgotten...And PLEASE don't ask "Where's Martin?.." he was there too...just not in this picture. Lol! God bless you all.. #LoveConquersAll #MartinShow
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9. West coast get ready for #RockyHorror. I will be live tweeting again. #letsdothetimewarpagain
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10. #THEKEYS pre order yours now ... Available everywhere #NOV22 #WeTheBest 🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑🔑
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11. We about to ROCK at #KCABlackBall!! All for our life-changing effort to end 🌎 AIDS.
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12. Today's #SNAPJACK is brought to you by @yazzthegreatest 😂😂😂💋💋💋
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13. Damn girl you kinda old to be headed to the Go Go. You coming in at the age they leaving. LMAO
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14. Daddy daycare B-Boxin with @acewellstucker @shopraisingace
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15. #FBF Naviyd & URV "LIL MONSTERS"
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16. HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO ONE OF THE BIGGEST LEGENDS IN OUR HIPHOP HISTORY! @snoopdogg CONTINUED BLESSING AND LOVE FAMILY!!!!! REAL OG!
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17. Thank you for a beautiful night VSU! Let's do it again! #HOMECOMING
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18. Had a great time this morning with my familia Erica, Griff & Truth!!
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19. Check out my interview on @essence facebook live. #inmyownwords #nycpromo #day2
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20. #She💋 #tbt #TheCoveAtTheAtlantis #DawgPawsAndAll
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21. Bae #retailtherapy
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22. Why me and @coryhardrict got the same pose... and notee... new mouth #naked
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23. When my husband is my personal 'hype-man'! it kills me every time! 💜😂 #WHATNOW #lostfiles📷
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24. Diggy Simmons
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25. Hand full of @jacquieaiche 💙💎💍 @esnail_la 💅🏾
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26. SuperSoulers! You can watch my interview with Carl Lentz live from my Facebook page, tomorrow at 11a ET| 8a PT. #SuperSoulSunday
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27. 💋 .. When the friendship is easy like Sunday morning. ☀️
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28. Sunday mornings are the best........... hugs and cuddles with my angel
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29. #huggar16 #hellohuggars
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30. My gym is everywhere!.. #RnBMoney #TheGeneral 📸: @twelvepastseven
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31. Nothing I would rather be doing... Rocko setting up our movie, Romelō working on a puzzle & Laiyah singing and sharing all she's learning at school... I'm so grateful for the joy they've brought into my life ... Praying for peace , joy & love in the home of EVERY family ♥️ #HeadScarfPJSunday LOL 😂
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