Swing Low, Sweet Chariot: England rugby bosses to review anthem’s ‘historic context’ amid slavery link

Derrick Santistevan

Rugby union bosses in England are to perform a review into the “historical context” of Swing Low, Sweet Chariot – an anthem routinely sung by countless fans throughout matches at Twickenham.

The song has its roots in American slavery in the 19 th century, which lots of fans might be uninformed of.

England’s governing body, the Rugby Football Union, has stated it desires to inform fans about its origins, in addition to carrying out the review.

It follows global Black Lives Matter demonstrations, consisting of in the UK, about racial inequality in the wake of the authorities killing of unarmed black male George Floyd in Minneapolis.

England players visualized prior to a game in the arena

The anthem has actually been sung by fans considering that the late 1980 s, however it goes back to its credited author, Wallace Willis, who was a released Oklahoma servant.

It ended up being a popular spiritual song in the early 20 th century and was popularised once again amongst folk artists throughout the civil liberties motion of the 1960 s.

In 1987, it was sung by fans at Twickenham throughout a Middlesex Sevens competition when Martin “Chariots” Offiah played.

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The fast winger was offered the label Chariots Offiah as a play on words with the motion picture Chariots of Fire, about 2 runners contending in the 1924 Olympics.

Martin ‘Chariots’ Offiah visualized in 1996

The RFU has actually chosen lots of fans are uninformed of the anthem’s story and is prepared to attend to the concern.

A representative stated: “The RFU has actually mentioned we need to do more to attain variety and we are identified to speed up modification and grow awareness.

” The Swing Low, Sweet Chariot song has actually long belonged to the culture of rugby and is sung by lots of who have no awareness of its level of sensitivities or origins.

“We are reviewing its historical context and our role in educating fans to make informed decisions.”

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