"This Little Light of Mine"
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"This Little Light of Mine" is a traditional gospel song that was given slightly updated lyrics reflecting the mood of the civil rights era. This recording was done in 1963 by three teenagers from the Montgomery Improvement Association: Mary Ethel Dozier, Minnie Hendrick, and Gladys Burnette Carter. Montgomery, Alabama, is considered the birthplace of the modern civil rights movement and had a strong singing tradition.

Lyrics

Oh, this little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

Oh, deep down in the South,
I'm going to let it shine.
Deep down in the South,
I'm going to let it shine.
Deep down in the South,
I'm going to let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

Oh, we have the light of freedom,
We're going to let it shine.
We have the light of freedom,
We're going to let it shine.
We have the light of freedom,
We're going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

Oh, God gave to us,
We're going to let it shine.
God gave to us,
We're going to let it shine.
God gave to us,
We're going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

Oh, all in the church,
We're going to let it shine.
All in the church,
We're going to let it shine.
All in the church,
We're going to let it shine.
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

Oh, this little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine.
This little light of mine,
I'm going to let it shine,
Let it shine, let it shine,
Let it shine.

"This Little Light of Mine" performed by Mary Ethel Dozier, Minnie Hendrick, and Gladys Burnette Carter from Sing For Freedom, recorded by Folkways in New York (SF 40032), provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. © 1992. Used by permission.

All photographs are from the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963 (Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)