Swing Low Sweet Chariot Essay

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B. J. Bolden is an Assistant Professor of Eng­lish at Chicago State University, Chicago, IL. She is the managing editor of Warpland: A Journal of Black Literature and Ideas at Chicago State Uni­versity and the author of Urban Rage in Bronzeville: Social Commentary in the Poetry of Gwendolyn Brooks, 1945-1960. In the following essay, Bolden provides an overview of the themes and form of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" and ex­plores the spiritual's relation to African music.

The Negro spiritual is a religious folk song of African-American slave origin. In terms of formal classification, as Dr. Alain Locke noted in his es­say "The Negro Spirituals," they belong to a larger class of four song types that were common in the rural south during slavery: ritual prayer songs or spirituals; the free and spirited evangelical "shouts," or camp-meeting songs; the more secu...

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This section contains 1,352 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Swing Low Sweet Chariot Study Guide
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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.
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