‘We Shall Overcome,’ anthem of Civil Rights movement, had Charleston roots

VIDEO: 'We Shall Overcome,' anthem of Civil Rights movement, had Charleston roots

CHARLESTON, S.C. (WCSC) - Echoes of the song “We Shall Overcome” reverberates through the nation at marches, around Dr. Martin Luther King Junior’s birthday and during Black History Month.

But the song’s familiar refrain has ties to the Lowcountry.

In 1945, hundreds of workers walked off of the floor of the Cigar factory on East Bay Street protesting discrimination and low pay.

While on strike they sang a popular hymn “I’ll Overcome Someday.”

But the words were changed to “We Shall Overcome.” Months later the strike was over, but the song would echo at protests and demonstrations for the next several decades.

Rev. Randolph Miller, pastor of Greater Unity AME in Holly Hill, says the tune holds great significance.

“It means a lot to me because it reminds me of the struggle," he said."Reminds me of all that Dr. King wanted us to remember about the Civil Rights Movement and living together and uniting together and that one day we would all work together.”

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