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Swing Low Sweet Chariot Summary

Everything you need to understand or teach Swing Low Sweet Chariot by Anonymous.

  • Swing Low Sweet Chariot Summary & Study Guide

Swing Low Sweet Chariot Summary


"Swing Low Sweet Chariot" is an African-American spiritual, also referred to as a Negro folk song. As a folk song, it is thought to have been created by a community rather than an individual, in this case the community of African-American slaves prior to the Civil War. However, one song collec­tor, John Wesley Work, in his book Folk Songs of the American Negro, reported a legend that it was composed by Hannah Shepherd of Tennessee in the mid-nineteenth century. Work recounted that she created it in a desperate moment to solace a dis­traught slave who had learned that she would be sold to another plantation and thus separated from her infant daughter.

Regardless of whether it originated from one composer or from a whole community, "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" was a popular song, sung throughout the South by slaves while they worked and during their...

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