A Forgotten Labor Chapter of a Civil Rights Anthem

by Stuart Elliott

Country and Western singer and deejay Texas Bill Strength was probably the second artist to record “We Will Overcome, ” which with a minor word change became the civil rights anthem “We Shall Overcome.” Joe Glazer had included it in the CIO’s Department of Education and Research  78-rpm album Eight New Songs for Labor, which also included Glaser’s classic “The Mill Was Made of Marble.”  Shortly after, Glaser taught the song to Texas Bill Strength who was hired by the CIO as part of Operation Dixie.

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