Introduction & Overview of Swing Low Sweet Chariot by Anonymous

Anonymous
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Swing Low Sweet Chariot Summary & Study Guide Description

Swing Low Sweet Chariot Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

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"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 occasional times of rest and prayer. The lyrics use biblical imagery and follow a slow, deep melody. They express the desire for a release from bondage and a return to home-geographi­cally, the land of Africa, or spiritually, the peace of heaven. To this day, "Swing Low Sweet Char­iot" has remained popular, performed by gospel singers throughout the world, imbuing audiences with religious spirituality.

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This section contains 217 words
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Poetry for Students
Swing Low Sweet Chariot from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.