We Shall Overcome

(We shall overcome)

GDR, 1971, 18 min, b&w
In German; English subtitles
Music (Score)
Production Company


The UN declared 1971 the Year for Action to Combat Racism and Racial Discrimination. On this occasion, Ralph Davis Abernathy, president of the Southern Christian Leadership conference, accepted an official invitation to visit East Germany (GDR). Footage from his visit in East Berlin and accounts of his relationship to Martin Luther King are interlaced with images of racial conflicts in the USA and statements about the GDR’s support for and solidarity with Black Americans and civil rights activists. In addition, the film shows archival material from visits to the GDR by key American public figures, civil rights and peace activists Angela Davis, Henry Winston, Linus Pauling, Paul Robeson, Pete Seeger and Louis Armstrong in the 1960s and 70s.


The propagandistic comments in the film correspond with the political discourses and discriminatory use of language at the time the film was made.


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