Monday, April 25, 2011

'Swing Low, Sweet Chariot' Goes To Fallin

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” is on its way to Governor Fallin's desk as the official state song following House approval.

Senate Bill 73, by Senator Judy Eason McIntyre and Rep. Jabar Shumate, officially designates the song.

The bill passed the House on an 89-0 vote.

“‘Swing Law, Sweet Chariot’ is among the most famous gospel songs in the world,” said Shumate, D-Tulsa. “It should be a source of pride to all Oklahomans that this meaningful song was written in our state. Granting this song official recognition will help publicize the diversity of Oklahoma and the contributions of African-Americans to our state.”

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was written in Indian Territory in 1862 by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw Freedman. The Red River reminded Wallis of the Jordan River, and the song was loosely based on the passage in the Bible that speaks of the Prophet Elijah being taken to heaven in a chariot.

Well known in the United States, the song is also part of the culture in Europe. It was adopted by the England Rugby Union fans during the last match of the 1988 season and recorded by the band UB40 for the team’s performance in the World Cup.

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