It is sure funny how time flies. It has been one full year since President Barack Obama was elected to the office of president of the United States. Now, personally, I like to remove myself from politics because it just seems rather unsavory to me and, also, it just does not interest me. I like to say it is because, generally I like to tell the truth, but I should not say this because all politicians do not lie. Also, politics sparks to many arguments and, well, arguments are not healthy. Yet, what particuarly excited me about last election was the fact that we would be getting a new face in an office of great power who seemed more fit for the job than former President Bush. Let us stray away from politics for a second and move on to a little history.
November 4th marked triumph for human beings, in my opinion. To long have people focused on racial differences and unfortunately, while this may remain a reality throughout human existence because people look different from each other, the election proved that at least the majority of the country did not let antiquated judgements sway their opinions and, for a brief moment, we collectively ignored the triviality of race and focused on what was best for the United States.
This is the topic of this song of the day and I would like to focus on the 90-year-old Pete Seeger’s version of the old gospel song, “We Shall Overcome,” which symbolizes a journy for African American Rights which came to fruition on election day. Seeger, whose version is most popular, first learned about the gospel song, originally written by Rev. Charles Tindley of Philly , after founding “People’s Songs,” an organization focused on keeping songs of labor alive. He learned the song from Zilphia Horton’s version which was used for the Civil Rights Movement. Seeger writes: “I changed it to ‘We shall’… I think I liked a more open sound; ‘We will’ has alliteration to it, but ‘We shall’ opens the mouth wider; the ‘i’ in ‘will’ is not an easy vowel to sing well. He also added some verses.
The reason this song is influential is because its malleability. It has been sung by so many musicians and has been tremendously flexible throughout the years. The message is also incredibly topical for anyone who has been somewhat discriminated against. We shall overcome is a true American song and last year on November 4th, the hopes of the dreamers who wrote this song came true.
Seeger’s version: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QhnPVP23rzo