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Remembering Guy Carawan: The Man Who Popularized 'We Shall Overcome'


Remembering Guy Carawan: The Man Who Popularized 'We Shall Overcome'

Peter Dreier

Guy Carawan, who introduced the song “We Shall Overcome” to the civil rights movement, died on May 4 at age eighty-seven after a lengthy illness.


A very quiet man, but known to nearly everyone who cares about trad music and its Ursprung. Like Pete, he’ll be missed.


Oh, and well done you, Peter, for getting him the honorary degree and the gig at the school. He always seemed much too self-effacing – I generally found that he was in town only after he left!


Words that always. “Got to me”, a man the same age as their author, Guy Carawan. We both entered this world the same year. Can’t explain why I never had the curiosity of determining who wrote them and more of what he was about. Thank you Peter Dreler.
Memorable words from a memorable era. They are protesting marching words of faith, expessing some belief, some hope that they, the peoples marching have encountered obstacles to their existence, in their way in their lives that they find very difficult to get around, but are determined to find the way.
In election campaign literature I received 5/5/15, I notice this very lame quote of Illinois Sen Mark Kirk;
“Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, it is clear that our work to keep men and women of all faiths safe from violence must never stop.” – I would have preferred that quote to be stated as follows, to make it more objectively true.
Seventy years after the liberation of Auschwitz, it is clear that our work to keep men and women of all faiths, “creed and color”, safe from “insanely induced religious hate and” violence “should now earnestly begin”.
Until humankind evolves to embrace Secular Humanism as the only appropriate and logical, (faith//belief/trust) which can harmoniously exist within any aspiring “Representative Democratic Republic”, or unions thereof; the chaos we witness now in our world and that has existed throughout the, over 5000 years of written history of man, will continue and worsen.
It has been the competition of and the invention of “ideas of Gods”; there has been just too many of them, all competing for supremacy, universal conquest/domination over the minds, bodies and indeed the “souls”, of all humanity that bears the most responsibility for our continuing failure to invent more universally judicial systems of law and government.
It seems that in mans “race to knowledge” the runner named “sociology” has always lagged very far behind the runner named “science and technology” except for a “blink in time” in the very early period of mans’ written history “the religion breakthrough” was observed by cave dwelling man, tinkering, predecessors of Freud, later morphing into priests or scribes who simply and intuitively took note of the phenomena of what is called today “cognitive dissonance” – the minds, of most people, resistance to accept argument against very early learned, and very frequently reinforced (sometimes brutally), inculcated ideas.
Imagine the world’s first and amazingly successful “Head Start Education” program begun thousands of years before Christ. After that: The quote supplied by Em Delli (an evidently more astute commenter to CD) applies; (with great emphasis on the last six words.)
“Religion is regarded by the common people as true, by the
wise as false, and by the rulers as useful.” Seneca 4BC-65AD
There is also a quote by an early Greek philosopher, I can’t recall who, or when, that said in effect; “Give your child to me, let me teach him through age eight, ……he will be mine thereafter." It is stupid of me to cite this in such a nebulus and un-researched way but I’m confident that it exists, is out there and someone will apply correct attribution to it.
With respect for ancient Greece, its philosophers and its rulers, They were all very wise. All rulers, prior to Seneca and after Seneca did indeed, exploit religion to their ends greatly slowing mankind’s evolutionary progress.