kids encyclopedia robot

This Little Light of Mine facts for kids

Kids Encyclopedia Facts

"This Little Light of Mine" is a popular gospel song of unknown origin that is sung all over the world. It was often reported to be written for children in the 1920s by Harry Dixon Loes, but he never claimed credit for the original version of the song, and the Moody Bible Institute where he worked said he did not write it. It was later adapted by Zilphia Horton, amongst many other activists, in connection with the civil rights movement.


Some claim the song takes its theme from some of Jesus's remarks to his followers. Matthew 5:14-16 of the King James Version gives: "Ye are the light of the world. A city that is set on an hill cannot be hid. Neither do men light a candle and put it under a bushel, but on a candlestick; and it giveth light unto all that are in the house. Let your light shine before men, that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven." The parallel passage in Luke 11:33 of the King James Version gives: "No man, when he hath lighted a candle, putteth it in a secret place, neither under a bushel, but on a candlestick, that they which come in may see the light." Given that the source is unknown and God and Jesus are not mentioned in the words, it is equally possible that the song reflects a global longing to be seen as a good person trying to make the world a better place.


The song was sung by Sister Rosetta Tharpe, Godmother of Rock 'N' Roll, as early as 1960. The song has also been secularised into "This Little Girl of Mine" as recorded by Ray Charles in 1956 and later The Everly Brothers. It has often been published with a set of hand movements to be used for the instruction of children.

Under the influence of Zilphia Horton, Fannie Lou Hamer, and others, it eventually became a Civil Rights anthem in the 1950s and 1960s, especially the version by Bettie Mae Fikes. The Kingston Trio recorded it on College Concert in 1962, and The Seekers for their second UK album, Hide & Seekers (also known as The Four & Only Seekers) in 1964. Over time it also became a very popular children's song, recorded and performed by the likes of Raffi in the 1980s from his album Rise and Shine, releasing it as a single. It is sometimes included in Christian children's song books.

Odetta and the Boys Choir of Harlem performed the song on the Late Show with David Letterman on September 17, 2001, on the first show after Letterman resumed broadcasting, after having been off the air for several nights following the events of 9/11. Reverend Osagyefo Sekou and other counter-protesters sang "This Little Light of Mine" defiantly before a crowd of white supremacists and alt-right supporters gathered for the Unite the Right rally in Charlottesville, VA in 2018.

The song featured on Hoyt Axton's 1963 album Thunder 'N Lightnin' named "This Little Light". LZ7 took their version of the song also named "This Little Light" to number 26 in the UK Singles Chart. The song is also sung in several scenes of the 1994 film Corrina, Corrina starring Whoopi Goldberg and Ray Liotta.

The song was mixed with You Can't Be A Beacon by The Masters V (Later: J.D. Sumner and the Stamps) in 1988.

Meghan Markle and Prince Harry chose to end their wedding in May 2018 with a version of the iconic song.

kids search engine
This Little Light of Mine Facts for Kids. Kiddle Encyclopedia.