"This Little Light of Mine" is a gospel song that came to be an anthem of the civil rights movement in the 1950's and 60's.
Some say the song is a traditional African-American spritual, some say the song was written by Harry Dixon Loes in the 1920's, but no documented proof of that has emerged till now.
This Little Light of Mine - Wikipedia
Let history shine on This Little Light of ours | Tincanland
Harry Dixon Loes | Yet Another Unitarian Universalist
In 1934 John and Alan Lomax were in Huntsville, Texas.
In the State Penitentiary they recorded Jim Boyd, singing "This Little Light Of Mine"
This little light of mine | Library of Congress
5 years later the Lomaxes returned to Huntville to record Doris McMurray singing "This Little Light O' Mine".
(c) Doris McMurray (1939) (as "This Little Light O' Mine")
Recorded May 14, 1939 in Huntsville, Texas by John A. and Ruby Lomax.
This little light o' mine | Library of Congress
Image 148 of 1939 Southern Recording Trip Fieldnotes | Library of Congress
Listen here: memory.loc.gov/afc/afcss39/264/2648b1.mp3
(c) W. Emmons (Lead) and Mount Olive Soul Stirrers (1950)
Released on Fortune 1318
Fortune Records - The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
(c) The St. Paul Church Choir of Los Angeles (1950)
(as "This Little Light Of Mine (I'm Going To Let It Shine)"
Recorded around May 1950.
Released on Capitol C.1069
Capitol 1000 - 1500, 78rpm numerical listing discography
Listen here: (at 5 min and 56 sec in the next YT)
(c) Helen McAlerney Barth And Al Smith (1951)
45cat - Helen McAlerney Barth And Al Smith - Why Worry When You Can Pray / Prayer Song - Singspiration - USA - C-2804
(c) The Ward Singers (1952)
Gertrude Ward, Clara Ward, Henrietta Waddy, Marion Williams, Willa Ward Moultrie and others.
Recorded May7, 1952
Released on Savoy 4038
Savoy Records Discography: 1952
78 RPM - The Ward Singers - This Little Light Of Mine / Just A Little While - Savoy - USA - 4038
In 1955 the song has also been secularised into "This Little Girl of Mine" as recorded by Ray Charles and later The Everly Brothers.
(c) Ray Charles (1955) (as "This Little Girl Of Mine")
78 RPM - Ray Charles - A Fool For You / This Little Girl Of Mine - Atlantic - USA - 1063
(c) Everly Brothers (1958)
78 RPM - The Everly Brothers - This Little Girl Of Mine / Should We Tell Him - Cadence - USA - 1342
(c) Bob Gibson (1958) (as "This Little Light")
His arrangement was more Dixieland style with a fast 2/4 beat.
Song – This Little Light | Bob Gibson Folk Legacy
Listen here: https://www.bobgibsonfolk.com/wp-content/uploads/2017/01/8-This-Little-Light.mp3
Around 1955, during the Civil Rights Movement, Zilphia Horton adapted the song and taught it to Pete Seeger and other activists at Highlander Folk School
(c) Pete Seeger (1962)
Recorded in 1960 live at the Village Gate, NY
Pete Seeger Discography
(c) The Montgomery Gospel Trio, The Nashville Quartet, and Guy Carawan (1961)
Recorded in 1961 and released on Folkways Records FH 5591
The song is also famously tied to Civil Rights leader, Fannie Lou Hamer. In 1962, while being detained by police on her way back from attempting to register to vote with other members of her community, she began singing this song.
On an album with field recordings from 1963, she also sang "This Little Light Of Mine".
Songs My Mother Taught Me - Smithsonian Folkways
(c) Betty Mae Fikes (1963)
Recorded October 1963 in Selma, AL
Voices of the Civil Rights Movement: Black American Freedom Songs 1960-1966 - Smithsonian Folkways
Listen to a sample here: Smithsonian Folkways
(c) Dionne Warwick (1965) (as "This Little Light")
Dionne Warwick - Here I Am (Vinyl, LP, Album) at Discogs
(c) Odetta (2005)
Odetta - Gonna Let It Shine (CD, Album) at Discogs
(c) Bruce Springsteen (2006)
Bruce Springsteen Lyrics: THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE [Live 19 Nov 2006 version]
(c) Roger McGuinn (2007)
Roger McGuinn first heard it performed by Bob Gibson on the 5-string banjo at the Latin School of Chicago in 1957.
Roger McGuinn's Folk Den » Blog Archive » This Little Light Of Mine
Listen here: ibiblio.org/jimmy/folkden/php/music/This_Little_Light_Of_Mine.mp3
(c) Joss Stone and Buick Audra (2009)
Various - Oh Happy Day (CD) at Discogs
In 2010 LZ7 took their version of the song named "This Little Light" to number 26 in the UK Singles Chart.
This Little Light - Wikipedia
More versions here;
Cover versions of This Little Light of Mine written by Harry Dixon Loes | SecondHandSongs
Cover versions of This Little Girl of Mine written by Ray Charles | SecondHandSongs
The Originals © by Arnold Rypens - THIS LITTLE LIGHT OF MINE