We Shall Overcome?

We Shall Overcome Lyrics
We Shall Overcome
We shall overcome, we shall overcome,
We shall overcome someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We shall overcome someday.
The Lord will see us through, The Lord will see us through,
The Lord will see us through someday;
Oh, deep in my heart,
I do believe,
We shall overcome someday.
We’re on to victory, We’re on to victory,
We’re on to victory someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We’re on to victory someday.
We’ll walk hand in hand, we’ll walk hand in hand,
We’ll walk hand in hand someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We’ll walk hand in hand someday.
We are not afraid, we are not afraid,

We are not afraid today;

Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We are not afraid today.
The truth shall make us free, the truth shall make us free,
The truth shall make us free someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
The truth shall make us free someday.
We shall live in peace, we shall live in peace,
We shall live in peace someday;
Oh, deep in my heart, I do believe,
We shall live in peace someday.

Lyrics from <a href=”http://www.elyrics.net” rel=”nofollow”>eLyrics.net</a>

(No one currently holds the rights to this song. Even who wrote the song, a black man or a white man is contested.)


Jesus Christ taught many lessons about how to live a righteous life while he was here on Earth, in corporeal form, with us. However, he had only one commandment. It is a simple one, as most things about God in the flesh are. They are abundantly clear and devoid of confusing language that can interpreted to fit the reader’s aims. The one commandment he left would fix the ills of the world if it were followed.

“A new command I give you: Love one another. As I have loved you, so you must love one another. By this everyone will know that you are my disciples, if you love one another.” -John 13:34-35 (NIV)

See, simple. To the point, succinct. Children can read this and understand it. Jesus wants us to love one another, as he loves us. This one commandment was so important to him, that he mentioned it more than once. This one commandment was so important to God, that the disciples mention it after Jesus has gone on.

It has been 76 years since Billie Holiday recorded this song:

Yet, just a few months back in N.C. a black teenager was found hanging from a tree, the local authorities tried to claim it was a suicide yet the circumstances and methodology were eerily similar to what Ms. Holiday is singing about in this song. And a Mississippi a man who had been arrested for possibly assaulting a white woman, (they dropped the charges) was found hanging with a white sheet from a tree in front of his home.

In 1965, in Selma, Alabama, civil rights protestors organized a peaceful march, which turned into a horrific day of bloodshed and beatings. We marked the 50th year since that time with memorial programs, Presidential commemoration, and a movie. And the song that everyone was singing was “We Shall Overcome”, which no one could agree on exactly who wrote the song. And deep in my soul, I wondered, “Will we ever overcome?” Because I look around and I see more hate in this country today than ever.

There were riots in Watts and everyone remembers it as some of the darkest days this country has seen since The Emancipation and the rise of the KKK. And sadly, they are not alone, we have the riots after the Rodney King incident, after the verdict on the Trayvon Martin case, after the death of Freddie Gray. I think things are getting worse. We are getting further from overcoming petty differences like the color of our skin and our religious choices and becoming more and more separate.

I think this picture I found says it so clearly:




The only difference I see in the photos is one is in color and one is not. 49 years lie between them and nothing is different. There is another verse from the bible that I am sure happened when we failed to follow the simple commandment:

“Jesus wept.”-John 11:35 (NIV)

Trayvon Martin was shot because he was considered suspicious for walking through the neighborhood his father lived in. And the country erupted in hate. They did not rally around the grieving parents, they ruptured into a roiling, devil-pleasing, hateful mass of hate.

Black teenagers and young men are being shot all over the country because police officers think they are carrying weapons and shoot to kill, not to wound, not to disable the threat, but to kill. When the victim is searched, no weapon is found. And while I think most of it is done because of racism and hate, a growing number of the shootings come from fear. Because you now have black people running around talking about getting the police back for the deaths, so the cycle grows. Cops, are fathers and husbands and sons and mothers and wives and daughters who are just trying to get home to their families. So, when you have a community that is talking about arming itself and going out and hunting cops, then of course there are more shootings, because the cops are afraid they will not make it home.

And then you have the incidents like Eric Garner and Freddie Gray. It does not matter what the reasons were the men were being taken into custody, lethal force was not warranted in either case.

I think John Legend and Common said what my feelings are best:


We are still so far as a country, as a race, the human race from following that simple commandment and I believe as long as we try to make the violence about black versus white, Christian vs. Muslim, straight vs. gay; we will never reach a day when we can sing with pride, “We Shall Overcome”, because it is only when one human looks at another and simply sees a fellow human being that we can begin to overcome.

One simple commandment did he give us before he left us, three little words, that can make the dream of overcoming true.

“Love one another.”

This week as I write this my prayers go up for the people of Baltimore, Maryland. I pray for the families who have lost loved ones. I pray for a city were the people have to line up in front of the police to protect them. I pray for a city were the death of a man has become a reason to rob others of what they use to make their living with. I pray for people who are posting on social media that police should be hunted down. I pray for a country where we have a government so filled with hate that they are willing to let veterans go without to triumph over a man whose politics they disagree with. I pray for a country were in the 150 years since slavery ended has in ways come so far and in others not changed at all. I pray for a nation were mothers are afraid to send their children to school, because they may never see them again. I pray for a far away nation ravaged by an earthquake and so many are dead. I pray for those who think they are Christian who are sitting around saying the nation was struck so, because they do not worship Yahweh God. I pray for those who think the answer to any of this is hatred. I pray for those who judge others and decided that atrocities are their due for not being exactly who or what they deem is righteous. I just pray for us all.

I close my eyes and beg God each day to keep the belief deep in my heart alive that we will overcome someday.

God Bless,



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