At its assembly celebrating Dr. Martin Luther King. Jr. Day every year, Beachwood Elementary School students sing “We Shall Overcome” together as a school. It’s a song that was recited by King in sermons and echoes the themes of the civil rights movement of the 1960s.
When first grader Kasey Galler came home singing the song earlier this week, his mom Latashia Galler had a new fun fact to share with him. Kasey and his family are descendants of songwriter Louise Shropshire, whose hymn “If My Jesus Wills” was the basis for “We Shall Overcome.”
“They didn’t believe me,” Latashia said with a laugh. “They had never heard my maiden name before, so they thought I was just making it up.”
Latashia was born a Shropshire, and Louise was her great, great aunt. “I had heard a lot of stories about her growing up, but as a kid I wasn’t really paying attention,” Latashia said.
At Beachwood’s assembly this year, the annual singing of “We Shall Overcome” featured a prologue. Kasey and his brother and sister, Dylan and Jazlyn, told their schoolmates about their newly discovered family member. They recounted Louise Shropshire’s friendship with King and other civil rights leaders and explained the origin of the song they were all about to sing.
It made for a more personal and unique twist on an annual tradition.Print This Post