Guy and Candie Carawan — musicians, activists, and long-time Highlander staff members — have received extensive coverage in the Knoxville press recently as a result of being among those honored for their work in the Civil Rights Movement by the Knoxville Presidential Inauguration Celebration Committee.

On February 2nd, Knoxville television station WVLT-TV aired “We Shall Overcome,” a segment of their “Tennessee Traveler” series that highlights the Carawan’s role in helping to spread “We Shall Overcome” throughout the Civil Rights movement and beyond. Click below to play this clip.



On February 18th, the Knoxville New-Sentinel ran a front-page article about Guy and Candie, “Carawans Used Music to Help Champion Civil Rights,” as part of their Black History Month series on local civil rights pioneers.

Through Highlander, Guy Carawan had the opportunity to introduce “We Shall Overcome” as a protest song during the civil-rights movement, along with “Eyes on the Prize” and other retooled tunes. They’ve brought their own philosophy to the work of the center and to progressive activism across Appalachia and the South — the notion that injustice is more easily overcome by those whose voices are joined in song.

“You can look to them to find a vision of hope,” said Mary Thom Adams, who grew up at the Highlander Center and worked there as a development director. “Everything they did in 1959, they have managed to stay relevant.”

Highlander’s Board and staff are honored to be associated with the Carawans, and join in celebrating their deep commitment to making music and culture a vital part of the fight for social and economic justice.

For more on the Carawans and the other  civil rights pioneers honored by the Knoxville Presidential Inauguration Celebration Committee, click here.

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