"This is the Lord's doing: it is marvelous in our eyes. This is the day which the Lord hath made; we will rejoice and be glad in it"
Psalm 118:23-24

It is with great joy and humility that the, We Shall Overcome Foundation can declare the following:

New York City

 On January 26, 2018, after 58 years of bondage and exploitation, 8 years of painstaking research and a two-year legal battle, the iconic protest anthem, "We Shall Overcome" has finally been restored to the Public Domain. In an historic settlement just days before trial, the defendants, The Richmond Organization agreed to the legal demands of the, We Shall Overcome Foundation and, Butler Films, LLC that "We Shall Overcome" must be returned to the people. 

 The WE SHALL OVERCOME FOUNDATION would like to give thanks to God for this victory. 

For those of you who have supported this cause with your generous financial donations, we could not have done this without you. We will continue to do God's work with faith, excellence and dedication. 

And for those who have contributed your friendship, intellectual, legal, cultural and emotional support, we are eternally grateful. 

Without ALL of you, none of this would have been possible.

Born of the African-American Church from the blood, sweat and tears of a suffering and oppressed people, you have helped return, We Shall Overcome - this most sacred anthem of freedom and protest - to a world in desperate need of its divine power.

We would also like to thank those in the global media and news community - outstanding journalists, columnists and bloggers - who have documented this historic journey with the highest standards of ethics and integrity. 

Most sincerely,

Isaias Gamboa

Founder and President - We Shall Overcome Foundation
January 26, 2018

'We Shall Overcome' Is Put in Public Domain in a Copyright Settlement

The two sides in a legal dispute over whether the song "We Shall Overcome" was subject to copyright protection reached a settlement on Friday that put the civil rights anthem in the public domain, lawyers involved in the case said.

Ludlow Music Agrees 'We Shall Overcome' Is in Public Domain in Legal Settlement

Sing it loud. Be solemn about the struggles and indignities of life. But also sing it proud upon a hopeful future. On Friday, a song publisher backed down on the claim that "We Shall Overcome" is under copyright.

'We Shall Overcome' Ruled Public Domain In Copyright Settlement

The civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" is now in the public domain. The music publishers that copyrighted the song in the 1960s settled the lawsuit on Friday. MICHEL MARTIN, HOST: In a few minutes, we'll meet one of the founders of the Black Lives Matter movement.

Songwriter finally gets her due for penning 'We Shall Overcome'

CLOSE In 1962, Martin Luther King Jr. came to Cincinnati to speak at a banquet for friend and fellow civil rights leader Fred Shuttlesworth. Hotels were filled, so Shuttlesworth, the pastor of Revelation Baptist Church in the West End, turned to his congregation's music minister for help.

Songwriter finally gets credit for 'We Shall Overcome' - theGrio

For decades, activists have tried to get Louise Shropshire the credit she deserves for the famous civil rights song popularized by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., "We Shall Overcome," which has long been said to be based on a hymn that she wrote.

Civil rights song 'We Shall Overcome' part of public domain

The civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" has been declared a part of public domain.

Song Publisher Agrees "We Shall Overcome" Is in Public Domain in Legal Settlement

Sing it loud. Be solemn about the struggles and indignities of life. But also sing it proud upon a hopeful future. On Friday, a song publisher backed down on the claim that "We Shall Overcome" is under copyright.

Woman Who Wrote We Shall Overcome Finally Gets Recognized For Civil Rights Anthem

Hymn writer Louise Shropshire is finally getting recognized for her song, which became the most recognized Civil Rights anthem in history.

'We Shall Overcome' Overcomes Bogus Copyright Claim -- Officially In The Public Domain

The same legal team that helped get the song "Happy Birthday" officially cleared into the public domain has done it again with the song "We Shall Overcome." As we wrote about, the same team filed a similar lawsuit against The...

Songwriter Who Wrote 'We Shall Overcome' Finally Gets Credit For Her Work

Civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" was placed in the public domain recently, and its original author has been placed in the spotlight, WSB-TV reports. Louise Shropshire, a music minister and entrepreneur, has now been given credit for creating the iconic song, which was made famous by mid-century folk singers like Pete Seeger and Joan Baez.

U.S. civil rights anthem 'We Shall Overcome' now in public domain

NEW YORK (Reuters) - The lyrics and melody of "We Shall Overcome" are now part of the public domain, following the settlement of a copyright lawsuit over the civil rights anthem long associated with the late folk singer Pete Seeger.

Federal Judge Rules First Verse Of 'We Shall Overcome' Public Domain

Last Friday, a federal judge in Manhattan ordered that the first and most famous verse of the Civil Rights era anthem "We Shall Overcome" belongs in the public domain. Plaintiffs in the case had asked the judge to negate a half-century-old copyright by four songwriters, including the late Pete Seeger.

'We Shall Overcome' Verse Now in the Public Domain

smithsonian.com Part of the classic Civil Rights song "We Shall Overcome" has now entered the public domain after a U.S. judge struck down its copyright protections last Friday , reports Rick Karr for NPR. "I couldn't be more humbled or thrilled to share the news that [...]

'We Shall Overcome' Verse Not Under Copyright, Judge Rules

Last year, the song's copyright was challenged by the makers of a documentary on the song's history and by the makers the 2013 film "Lee Daniels' The Butler," who wanted to use part of the song in the movie.

"We Shall Overcome" plaintiffs win key copyright ruling

NEW YORK (Reuters) - A U.S. judge handed challengers to copyrights for the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" a victory on Friday, ruling that the lyrics and melody of the song's first verse do not qualify for copyright protection. U.S.

The most famous civil rights song, "We Shall Overcome," is no longer copyrighted

A federal judge ruled (PDF) on Friday that the most famous verse of the civil rights anthem "We Shall Overcome" is not copyrighted. The ruling is a decisive, but still incomplete win for the two plaintiffs.

"We Shall Overcome" Verse Ruled Public Domain

"We Shall Overcome" Verse Ruled Public Domain. Read more about this and other GRAMMYs news at GRAMMY.com.




Cincinnati, Ohio, -September 28, 2013. At an historic cultural gathering of influential religious, academic and civic  leaders and activists, Lee Daniels, the Oscar-nominated director of "Precious" and the critically acclaimed film, "Lee Daniels' The Butler", was awarded the ‘We Shall Overcome Foundation 'Oscar Micheaux Freedom Award’ at the first annual, ‘We Shall Overcome-An Evening of Hope’ awards ceremony. Mr. Daniels was presented the award by Civil Rights Hall of Fame Inductee, Rev. Dr. Otis Moss Jr., who himself was subject to violence of the African American Civil Rights movement, such as  was vividly depicted in Daniels' award winning film, "Lee Daniels' The Butler".

What started out as a deeply moving tribute to Mr. Daniels and his recent directorial work on ‘Lee Daniels The Butler’ by Rev. Moss, evolved into a powerful "I Saw ‘the Butler’" sermon, during which Rev. Moss powerfully articulated his personal connection to the film's principal character, Cecil Gaines; depicted by actor, Forrest Whitaker. Rev. Moss also remarked on the "astonishing" historical accuracy portrayed in Daniels’ film. During his acceptance speech, Lee Daniels wept tenderly and then, spoke humbly - not of himself, but of the "True Heroes" of the American Civil Rights Movement. He then pointed out and thanked Mrs. Betty Daniels Rosemond, - a presenter at the ceremony and was herself a Freedom Rider, based out of the Louisiana chapter of the Congress of Racial Equalituy (C.O. R. E.) Earlier in the program, Mrs. Rosemond had presented the We Shall Overcome Foundation "Harriet Tubman Activism Award" to Simone Sheffield; Co=producer of , "Precious"  and "Lee Daniels' The Butler",


In one of the highlights of the evening, immediately following Lee Daniel’s acceptance speech, Civil Rights Hall of Fame Inductee, Rev, Dr. Damon Lynch Jr. took to the stage and issued an "altar call" whereby he asked all ministers in the audience to come forward. Approximately 35 men and women of faith then made their way to the stage and, led by the President of the Underground Railroad Freedom Center, Rev. Dr. Clarence "C.W." Newsome, formed a circle around Lee Daniels, laid hands on him and, along with hundreds in the audience, prayed for him and his work as a filmmaker. It was truly an exceptional and historic night in Cincinnati, Ohio. - Like no other before it but God permitting, many to follow.

The 'We Shall Overcome~ An Evening of Hope: The Life and Legacy of Louise Shropshire' gala  was an award ceremony and tribute to Louise Shropshire - the newly discovered "missing-link" author of the iconic freedom song, "We Shall Overcome". 

The evening concluded with representatives from the city of Cincinnati, Cincinnati Public Schools, the University of Cincinnati and the Ohio State House of Representatives, all of which presented historic resolutions and declarations affirming Louise Shropshire's original authorship of "We Shall Overcome"; the song the US Library of Congress has called; "The Most Powerful Song of the 20th Century".

Founded by Isaias Gamboa -the We Shall Overcome Foundation is a faith-based, not-for-profit organization, dedicated to the spiritual, social, educational, political and economic survival of the poor, opressed, abused, ignorant and marginalized throughout the world.

In an historic City Council resolution,
the City of Cincinnati, Ohio has unanimously
affirmed Louise Shropshire as the true "Original Author"
of the powerful freedom song, We Shall Overcome.
The resolution was approved on September 11, 2013
by all nine city council members and signed by the
mayor of  Cincinnati, Ohio; Mark Mallory. 

For more than half a century prior to the release of the book, We Shall OVercome: Sacred Song on the Devil's Tongue" by Isaias Gamboa, the founder of WE SHALL OVERCOME FOUNDATION, the "original" 
author of We Shall Overcome had been listed as "unknown".