During the civil rights movement, protest songs were often sung when participants gathered together and when mass demonstrations were being planned or held.
People would grasp each other’s hands, move from side to side, and sing these “freedom songs” as loud as they could.
Many of these songs came from nineteenth-century spirituals, but during the civil rights movement they were adapted to suit different circumstances.
“We Shall Overcome” became an anthem of the movement:
We Shall Overcome,
we shall overcome, we shall overcome, someday.
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe, that
we shall overcome, someday.