Swing Low Sweet Chariot, from Walk Together Children: Black American Spirituals

Ashley Bryan, American, 1923 - 2022



Linocut on wove paper


Image: 7 × 9 1/16 in. (17.8 × 23 cm)

Sheet: 12 3/8 × 16 5/8 in. (31.5 × 42.3 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Gift of Elizabeth and Michael Mayor

© Ashley Bryan



Place Made: United States, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Numbered, in graphite, lower left margin: 17/30; titled, in graphite, lower center margin: Swing Low Sweet Chariot; signed, in graphite, lower right margin: ABryan


In this linocut, Dartmouth Professor Emeritus Ashley Bryan illustrates the well-known black spiritual "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot," specifically the verse:

I looked over Jordan, what did I see

Coming for to carry me home?

A band of angels coming after me

Coming for to carry me home.

Through his portrayal of black angels riding a chariot to heaven, Bryan seems to equate heaven with freedom—that of the Israelites from Egypt, and of enslaved Africans from American chattel slavery.

This work captures the importance of the African American history of song. Spirituals created community during times of hardship, uniting people through music despite differing ethnic and cultural backgrounds. Sime historians believe this tune served as code during the underground railroad, sung as "Swing Low, Sweet Harriet" when Harriet Tubman was on her way. The spiritual represented not only a collective symbolic hope, but also a concrete hope of freedom from bondage.

From the 2019 exhibition A Space for Dialogue 97, Black Bodies on the Cross, curated by Victoria McCraven '19, Homma Family Intern

Course History

AAAS 88.19, Contemporary African-American Artists, Michael Chaney, Summer 2021

Exhibition History

A Space for Dialogue 97, Black Bodies on the Cross, Victoria McCraven, Class of 2019, Homma Family Intern, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, November 9, 2019-January 4, 2020.

Publication History

Victoria McCraven, A Space for Dialogue 97, Black Bodies on the Cross, Hanover, New Hampshire: Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, 2020.


Elizabeth R. and Michael Mayor, Hanover, New Hampshire; given to present collection, 2014.

This record is part of an active database that includes information from historic documentation that may not have been recently reviewed. Information may be inaccurate or incomplete. We also acknowledge some language and imagery may be offensive, violent, or discriminatory. These records reflect the institution’s history or the views of artists or scholars, past and present. Our collections research is ongoing.

We welcome questions, feedback, and suggestions for improvement. Please contact us at: Hood.Collections@dartmouth.edu