President of the USA Lyndon Johnson uses the phrase "We shall overcome" in a speech before Congress in Washington DC. The phrase is borrowed from the title of the gospel song We Shall Overcome
, which has become powerfully identified with the politics of the Civil Rights movement. Only a few days before Johnson's speech, Bloody Sunday
had occurred on the Selma to Montgomery protest marches, so Johnson was using the song title to suggest a measure of government sympathy and solidarity with the Civil Rights movement.
Suzanne Vega : I remember being eight or nine years old and feeling this kind of climate of, oh, if we can just follow Joan Baez and sing We Shall Overcome then we shall overcome. Then all of a sudden the '70s came and it was, like, that really wasn't good enough. You can sing Blowin' In The Wind – and Blowin' In The Wind is a great song – but it doesn't save you from your political situation, so a kind of cynicism crept in, a feeling of futility.
(Source : interview with Mat Snow, New Musical Express, 5 October 1985)