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Lawsuit Filed Over Civil Rights Protest Anthem

Voices coming together to sing “We Shall Overcome” became the unofficial anthem of the Civil Rights Movement.

Hand-in-hand with voices raised high with power, the song signified hope beyond the pain and adversity.

The anthem is now caught in a new lawsuit where attorneys at Wolf Haldenstein are working on behalf of Isaias Gamboa, the founder of the We Shall Overcome Foundation, to establish that the song is conclusively in the public domain.

According to the suit, filed Tuesday in New York against the Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music Inc., Haldenstein is hoping for a declaratory judgment, injunctive relief and a financial return on the licensing of the song, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Since 1960, the Richmond Organization and Ludlow Music has allegedly been illegally licensing and using the popular hymn.

The protest song is said to be an adaptation of an earlier negro spiritual composed by Louise Shropshire and was later taught to folk singer Peter Seeger.

Today, “We Shall Overcome” still reigns with power in African-American culture and is often used in the Black Lives Matter movement.

More on this lawsuit to come.