NPR logo 'We Shall Overcome,' Arranged by Uzee Brown, Jr.

'We Shall Overcome,' Arranged by Uzee Brown, Jr.

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Dr. Uzee Brown, Jr., arranged this version of "We Shall Overcome." hide caption

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Uzee Brown, Jr....

 

...is president of the National Association of Negro Musicians, former chair of the music department of Clark Atlanta University, and director of the choir of Martin Luther King's home congregation, Ebenezer Baptist Church. He has been a soloist with the Atlanta Symphony for concert performances of Beethoven's opera Fidelio and Gershwin's Porgy and Bess, as well as for Handel's Messiah and Delius' Appalachia.

The great civil-rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" takes its lyrics from Charles Tindley's gospel song "I'll Overcome Some Day," written in 1900. At least part of the music comes from the pre-Civil War spiritual "No More Auction Block for Me."

Professor Donnell King of Pellissippi State Technical Community College in Knoxville relates that "We Shall Overcome" was adapted from these gospel songs by Guy Carawan, Candy Carawan, and "a couple of other people associated with the Highlander Research and Education Center, currently located near Knoxville, Tenn."

Dr. Brown's arrangement for chorus and orchestra was written especially for our 1999 King Celebration concert, the 70th-birthday tribute to Martin Luther King, Jr.

All text courtesy program notes for 'A King Celebration' from the Woodruff Arts Center, Atlanta, Ga.

'We Shall Overcome'

We shall overcome,

We shall overcome,

We shall overcome some day.

Oh deep in my heart, I do believe

That we shall overcome some day.

We'll walk hand in hand some day...

We are not afraid today...

We shall overcome some day...