“We Shall Not Be Moved”


"The Union is behind us, We shall not be moved... Just like a tree That's standing by the water, We shall not be moved." Similarly "We're fighting for our freedom, We shall not be moved"; "We're fighting for our children"; "We'll build a mighty Union."


[Although not printed at that time, the union version of this song goes back at least to] 1941, [since] Woody Guthrie, in _Bound for Glory_, refers to singing it with Cisco Houston on Dec. 7, 1941, to break up a possible lynching of Japanese-Americans after the attack that day on Pearl Harbor.

The song was adapted from a traditional hymn, "I Shall Not Be Moved," by labor organizers working with southern tenant farmers in the 1930s. It was also adapted into an anthem of the civil rights movement in the 1960s. - PJS

Given the extreme variations in traditional versions of the hymn (one of Brown's informants actually sang the chorus as "I Shall Not Be Blue!"), we originally listed the source and its adaptions here. The civil rights version, in particular, is close to the hymn. Best to check both. - RBW

Same tune

  • We Shall Not Be Moved -- union parodies (Greenway-AFP, p. 17)

Cross references


  • Pete Seeger, "We Shall Not Be Moved" (on PeteSeeger01) (on PeteSeeger47)
  • Union Boys, "We Shall Not Be Moved" (on "Songs for Victory", Asch 346, 1944)


  1. Scott-BoA, pp. 344-345, "We Shall Not Be Moved" (1 text, 1 tune)
  2. PSeeger-AFB, p. 38, "We Shall Not Be Moved" (1 text, 1 tune)
  3. Silber-FSWB, p. 135, "We Shall Not Be Moved" (1 text)
  4. BI, SBoA344


Author: unknown
Earliest date: 1955 (recording, Pete Seeger)
Found in: US