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We Shall Overcome

A Jazz Tribute to Black History

Song was written and produced by Walter Smith and George Tyler



Photo by James Karales


Walter B. Smith, 1966 - 2018

This song was written and produced by Walter Smith and George Tyler through their respective production companies Lil Walt Productions and TylerMade Music.


Walter was an exceptional musical artist and producer. Born and raised in Chicago, Illinois. He studied Music Education at Chicago State University.

Full Song & Video  Credits
“We Shall Overcome" A Jazz Tribute to Black History

Song arranged by George Tyler 


Drums - George Tyler

Piano and Auxiliary Keys - Walt Smith

Sax - Rob Dixon

Bass - Willie Robinson

Percussion - Cassius Goens


VOCALS: Dr. Dorshell Stewart, Lydia Randolph, Jon Harris


CHILDREN'S VOICES: Kayson G. Tyler, Tristan Mabon, Aniyah Marr, Randi Michaela, Sheppard Zion, R. Robinson,


Song Recorded at  Studios / Lil Walt Productions


Mixed and Mastered by Michael Houston for MH Music 


Video Filmed and Edited by Bryan Hudson, Vision Communications

Filmed at Vision Stream Network Studio, Indianapolis


Voting Rights Act of 1965

The Voting Rights Act of 1965, signed into law by President Lyndon B. Johnson, aimed to overcome legal barriers at the state and local levels that prevented African Americans from exercising their right to vote as guaranteed under the 15th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. The Voting Rights Act is considered one of the most far-reaching pieces of civil rights legislation in U.S.


Madam C.J. Walker, 1867-1919

Entrepreneur, philanthropist, and activist, Madam C.J. Walker rose from poverty in the South to become one of the wealthiest African American women of her time. She used her position to advocate for the advancement of black Americans and for an end to lynching.


The Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first Black military aviators in the U.S. Army Air Corps (AAC), a precursor of the U.S. Air Force. Trained at the Tuskegee Army Air Field in Alabama, they flew more than 15,000 individual sorties in Europe and North Africa during World War II. Their impressive performance earned them more than 150 Distinguished Flying Crosses.


Pastor Martin Luther King Jr., 1929 - 1968

Dr. King accepted the call to the pastorate of the then Dexter Avenue Baptist Church, as its twentieth pastor, on May 14, 1954.


Barack Obama, 1961 - 

Barack Obama served as the 44th President of the United States. His story is the American story — values from the heartland, a middle-class upbringing in a strong family, hard work and education as the means of getting ahead, and the conviction that a life so blessed should be lived in service to others.


School Desegregation

Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement, and helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all.


Berry Gordy, 1929 - 

Berry Gordy, Jr., (born November 28, 1929, DetroitMichigan, U.S.), American businessman, founder of the Motown Record Corporation (1959), which became the most successful Black-owned music company in the United States. Through Motown, he developed the majority of the great rhythm-and-blues (R&B) performers of the 1960s and ’70s,


Sidney Poitier, 1927 - 2021

Both an esteemed actor and a respected humanitarian, Sidney Poitier received an Academy Award for Best Actor for Lilies of the Field (1963) Born in Miami, he grew up both in the Bahamas and the United States and became a noted actor both in such films as In the Heat of the Night (1967) and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner (1967). He has also directed nine features and remains a major inspirational figure among the creative community.


Greenwood Massacre in Tulsa, Oklahoma,

1921 Attack on the African American district of Greenwood in Tulsa, Oklahoma 

Following World War I, Tulsa was recognized nationally for its affluent African American community known as the Greenwood District. This thriving business district and surrounding residential area was referred to as “Black Wall Street.” In June 1921, a series of events nearly destroyed the entire Greenwood are


Jackie Robinson, 1919 - 1972

Born in Cairo, Georgia in 1919 to a family of sharecroppers. His mother, Mallie Robinson, single-handedly raised Jackie and her four other children. They were the only black family on their block, and the prejudice they encountered only strengthened their bond. From this humble beginning would grow the first baseball player to break Major League Baseball's color barrier that segregated the sport for more than 50 years.


The Middle Passage

Enslaved Africans were bought and sold after traveling the Middle Passage from West Africa to North America. From the 16th to the 19th centuries, approximately 12 million Africans were transported across the Atlantic as human property.


Sojourner Truth, 1797-1883

A former slave, Sojourner Truth became an outspoken advocate for abolition, temperance, and civil and women’s rights in the nineteenth century. Her Civil War work earned her an invitation to meet President Abraham Lincoln in 1864.


Frederick Douglass, 1818 - 1895

Frederick Douglass was an escaped slave who became a prominent activist, author and public speaker. He became a leader in the abolitionist movement, which sought to end the practice of slavery, before and during the Civil War. After that conflict and the Emancipation Proclamation of 1862, he continued to push for equality and human rights until his death in 1895.


Harriet Tubman, 1820 - 1913

Known as the “Moses of her people,” Harriet Tubman was enslaved, escaped, and helped others gain their freedom as a “conductor" of the Underground Railroad. Tubman also served as a scout, spy, guerrilla soldier, and nurse for the Union Army during the Civil War. She is considered the first African American woman to serve in the military.


Abraham Lincoln, 1809-1865

The United States’ 16th President in 1861, issuing the Emancipation Proclamation that declared forever free those slaves within the Confederacy in 1863.


Booker T. Washington, 1856-1915

Founder and First President of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute

(now Tuskegee University). Educator and reformer, first president and principal developer of Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (now Tuskegee University), and the most influential spokesman for Black Americans between 1895 and 1915.


W.E.B. Du Bois, 1868 -1963

William Edward Burghardt Du Bois was an American civil rights activist, leader, Pan-Africanist, sociologist, educator, historian, writer, editor, poet, and scholar. He was born and raised in Great Barrington, Massachusetts. He had two children with his wife, Nina Gomer. He became a naturalized citizen of Ghana in 1963 at the age of 95 – the year of his death.


Mary McLeod Bethune, 1875 - 1955

Born on a farm near Mayesville, South Carolina in 1875, Mary McLeod Bethune, the 15th child of former slaves, rose from humble beginnings to become a world-renowned educator, civil and human rights leader, champion for women and young people, and an advisor to five U.S. presidents.


Jesse Owens, 1913 - 1980

At the 1936 Berlin Olympics, African American track star Jesse Owens wins his fourth gold medal of the Games in the 4×100-meter relay. His relay team set a new world record of 39.8 seconds, which held for 20 years. In their strong showing in track-and-field events at the XIth Olympiad, Jesse Owens and other African American athletes struck a propaganda blow against Nazi leader Adolf Hitler, who planned to use the Berlin Games as a showcase of supposed Aryan superiority.


Rosa Parks, 1913 - 2005

On December 1, 1955, Rosa Parks boarded a bus in Montgomery, Alabama. Instead of going to the back of the bus, which was designated for African Americans, she sat in the front. When the bus started to fill up with white passengers, the bus driver asked Parks to move. She refused. Her resistance set in motion one of the largest social movements in history, the Montgomery Bus Boycott.


Thurgood Marshall,  1908-1993

Thurgood Marshall was an influential leader of the civil rights movement. He also had a profound contribution to the NAACP and his legacy lives on in the pursuit of racial justice.


Freedom Riders

Representative John Lewis was among the 13 original Freedom Riders, who encountered violence and resistance as they rode buses across the South, challenging the nation’s segregation laws.


Medgar Evers, 1925-1963

A civil rights campaigner and field secretary for the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) whose murder in 1963 prompted President John F. Kennedy to ask Congress for a comprehensive civil rights bill. Evers became the first martyr to the 1960s civil rights movement, and his death was a turning point for many in the struggle for equality, infusing other civil rights leaders with renewed determination to continue their struggle despite the violent threats being made against them. In the wake of Evers’s assassination, a new civil rights motto was born—”After Medgar, no more fear.”

Historical Events & Figures Shown in Video

In tribute to all others, known and hidden figures, in Black history

Compiled by Bryan Hudson, D.Min.

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