Swing Low, Sweet Chariot

John McCrady, American, 1911 - 1968


about 1937

Lithograph on wove paper

Image: 10 7/8 × 14 13/16 in. (27.6 × 37.6 cm)

Sheet: 13 × 17 5/16 in. (33 × 43.9 cm)

Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth: Purchased through the Guernsey Center Moore 1904 Memorial Fund



Associated American Artists, New York


Place Made: United States, North America


20th century

Object Name


Research Area


Not on view


Signed, in graphite, lower right margin: John McCrady; signed, in stone, lower right: J. Mc. C.; inscribed, in graphite, lower left margin: Swing Low Sweet Chariot


This print is a visual representation of the traditional African American spiritual “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot,” a funeral hymn. In this print, a Black family gathers around a family member who has just died, with a chariot from heaven coming down to carry his soul to the afterlife, as the song promises. The mourning family sits below a procession of otherworldly figures, including an angel wrestling with the devil and a trumpeter. In this melodramatic moment, religious comfort overcomes grief.

John McCrady was born as the son of a Methodist minister in rural Louisiana. He was well known for his prints and illustrations, many of which depicted the daily lives of African Americans.

From the 2022 exhibition A Space for Dialogue 104, Southern Gothic, curated by Abigail Smith '23, Conroy Intern

Exhibition History

A Space for Dialogue 104, Southern Gothic, Abigail Smith, Class of 2023, Conroy Intern, Alvin P. Gutman Gallery, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, January 8–February 27, 2022.

Looking for America: Prints of Rural Life from the 1930's and 1940's, Hood Museum of Art, Dartmouth College, Hanover, New Hampshire, December 3, 1994-March 5, 1995

Publication History

Barbara J. MacAdam, Looking for America: Prints of Rural Life from the 1930s and 1940s, Hanover, New Hampshire: Trustees of Dartmouth College, 1994, listed no. 42.


Associated American Artists, New York; sold to present collection, 1942.

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