Zilphia Horton

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Contact:
Candace Corrigan
707 N Spring St
Murfreesboro, TN 37130

(615) 904-0085

 

Radio Portraits inspired from women's diaries written 1779-1959

MapZilphia Horton 1910-1956
Musical director of the
Highlander Folk Center

Zilphia Horton, a classically-trained musician, became interested in social change during college. Disowned by her family after attempting to organize her fathers' coal mine, she first attended a Highlander Folk School workshop in 1933. Dedicated to establishing the dignity of all people, the school was a center for social justice assisting literacy programs and labor strikes throughout the South. In 1935 she married Miles Horton, one of the founders of the school, and became the school's music director. In 1945, she helped rewrite We Shall Overcome, the unofficial theme song of the Civil Rights Movement.

A Simple Song

She was born a child of promise
With a welcome heart and strong of voice
Her daddy's wealth was from a coal mine
She would make a different choice

She fell in love with a man of ideas
To turn the world from poverty
And feel the strength of will together
The truth of solidarity

A song was sung by southern
workers back in 1945
She would sing it over and over
And help to bring their hope alive

When we reach that golden shoreline
And we're walking in the sun
Is it then we finally realize
How much good our lives have done

Is she looking down from heaven
As I sing this song for you
My guess is that she is smiling and laughing
At what a simple song can do

We Shall Overcome, rewritten by Zilphia Horton,
Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawon, Pete Seeger,
(used with permission).

We shall overcome
We shall overcome
We shall overcome someday
Deep in my heart,
I know that, I do believe,
We shall overcome someday

Special thanks to Willy Meyers and the boys from Ireland for their help on this recording.

Song Sources:
Personal interview conducted by Candace Corrigan with Guy Carawan of the Highlander Research and Education Center, New Market, TN

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