On Saturday, August 19th at 1:00pm, Prof. Victor V. Bobetsky will deliver a presentation titled “We Shall Overcome: A Great American Song” at the PSZ Clay Center in Zanesville, OH. This talk will be about the origins and history of the freedom song “We Shall Overcome”, and is the inaugural presentation in the Winding Road Visual and Performing Arts series sponsored by the arts organization, Appalachian Hills of Ohio Territory. Prof. Bobetsky will also give a book talk at New York University on November 7th. We Shall Overcome: Essays on a Great American Song has been met with enthusiastic reviews and has been purchased by over 190 college, university, and public libraries throughout the United States, and by libraries in Canada, Europe, Asia, and Latin America.
We Shall Overcome: Essays on a Great American Song, edited and compiled by Prof. Bobetsky, comprises a series of essays that explore the history and influence of this great American folk song. Throughout its evolution, “We Shall Overcome” has served as a labor movement song, a civil rights song, a hymn, and a protest song and has long held strong meaning for the African-American community and the American and world communities at large. This book was inspired by a symposium of guest speakers and student choirs from the New York City Public Schools that occurred at Hunter College of the City University of New York on May 1st, 2013. Chapters cover such critical matters as the song’s ancestry, Pete Seeger’s contribution to its popularization, the role played by the SNCC Freedom Singers in its adoption, the gospel origins and influences of the song, its adaptation by choral arrangers, its use as a teaching tool in the classroom, and its legacy among other freedom songs.
The American Organist has lauded We Shall Overcome: Essays on a Great American Song as “an important curricular resource that belongs in school and community libraries… [that will] collectively provide a gold mine for teachers and choral conductors looking for a more relevant and powerful way to teach rich lessons about the Civil Rights Movement in the United States.” Music Educators Journal calls We Shall Overcome: Essays on a Great American Song “a valuable resource to be used not just in the music appreciation or general music classroom but in any class that seeks to provide a deeper understanding of the African-American civil rights movement and the song central to its conflict that has been used ‘to inspire people around the world who struggle for peace and justice.'”