The 25 Most Important Civil Rights Moments in Music History

"We Shall Overcome" at the Stonewall Riots

Date: June 28, 1969

The struggle for justice during the Civil Rights Movement was not limited to the descendants of former slaves in the United States, but that was the movement's crucible. "We Shall Overcome," a modification of Charles Albert Tindley's gospel song "I'll Overcome Someday," was introduced to the wider Civil Rights movement when Guy Carawan brought the song to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC) in 1960. Nine years later, the Stonewall Riots marked a major moment in the emerging fight for gay and lesbian rights in the United States. Police raided the Stonewall Inn in Greenwich Village during a crackdown on gay bars in New York City; a crowd gathered, which soon became a large-scale protest. During the conflict, "We Shall Overcome" again became the soundtrack—the only difference, according to witness Edmund White: "they started camping it."

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