Search Connexions

Connexions Library

Articles, Books, Documents, Periodicals, Audio-Visual


Title Index

Author Index

Subject Index

Chronological Index

Spotlight: Most Popular

Format Index

Dewey Index

Library of Congress Index

Español

Français

Deutsch


Connexipedia:

Connexipedia Title Index

Connexipedia Subject Index

Connexipedia: People

Connexipedia: Events

Connexipedia:
  Movements/Organizations


Search the Library

Connexions Directory
Groups & Websites

Subject Index

Associations Index

SOURCES: Media Spokespeople

Search the Directory

Selected Resources by
Subject Area

Donate or Volunteer

Your support makes our work possible. Please Donate Today

Please Donate Today!
Volunteer and Internship opportunities

Zilphia Horton


Zilphia Horton (1910-1956) was American musician, community organizer, educator, Civil Rights activist, and folklorist. She is best-known for her work with her husband Myles Horton at the Highlander Folk School where she is generally credited with turning such songs as "We Shall Overcome", "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," "We Shall Not Be Moved, " and "This Little Light of Mine" from hymns into songs of the Civil Rights movement.

She was born Zilphia Mae Johnson in Paris, Arkansas. She was trained as a classical musician.

Zilphia was a graduate of the College of the Ozarks. She was determined to use her talents for the better good of the southern working class. She was disowned by her family after she tried to organize her father's coal mine. In 1935, she attended a labor education workshop at the Highlander Folk School. Two months later, she married the school's founder, Myles Horton.

As a member of the staff, Zilphia served in many ways. She directed workers' theatre productions, junior union camps, and various community programs, organized union locals, and led singing at workshops, picket lines, union meetings, and fund-raising concerts. She had students collect folk songs, religious music, and union songs around the South which she then re-wrote or re-worked to turn into anthems of the Civil Rights movement.

She and Myles Horton had two children. In 1956, she died of kidney failure after accidentally drinking a glass of typewriter cleaning fluid she mistook for water.

[edit] Accomplishments

She is best known for helping to transform the song "We Shall Overcome" into a Civil Rights anthem in 1946. Other musicians credited with transforming the song are Frank Hamilton, Guy Carawan, and Pete Seeger. Other songs she re-worked were "Keep Your Eyes on the Prize," "We Shall Not Be Moved, " and "This Little Light of Mine." She collected hundreds of songs. Her papers are deposited in the Tennessee State Library and Archives in Nashville.

[edit] References




Related topics in the Connexions Subject Index

Alternatives  –  Left History  –  Libraries & Archives  –  Social Change  – 


This article is based on one or more articles in Wikipedia, with modifications and additional content contributed by Connexions editors. This article, and any information from Wikipedia, is covered by a Creative Commons Attribution-Sharealike 3.0 Unported License (CC-BY-SA) and the GNU Free Documentation License (GFDL).

We welcome your help in improving and expanding the content of Connexipedia articles, and in correcting errors. Connexipedia is not a wiki: please contact Connexions by email if you wish to contribute. We are also looking for contributors interested in writing articles on topics, persons, events and organizations related to social justice and the history of social change movements.

For more information contact Connexions