Wallace Willis a Native American Slave circa 1862
Wallace Willis was a Choctaw freedman living in the Indian Territory, in what is now Choctaw County, near the city of Hugo, Oklahoma. His dates are unclear: perhaps 1820 to 1880. He is credited with composing several Negro spirituals. Willis received his name from his owner, Britt Willis, probably in Mississippi. His local river with red clay suspended in it inspired him to write of the Jordan River and Elijah being taken to heaven in a fiery chariot. Willis is credited with writing" Swing Low Sweet Chariot"
"Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" is an American NegroSpiritual The earliest known recording was in 1909, by the Fisk Jubilee Singers of Fisk University Swing Low, Sweet Chariot This Afro-American spiritual song was composed by Wallace Willis
View and listen to all the three versions of " Swing Low Sweet Chariot" in this module. Fisk Jubilee Singers, Johnny Cash, and Leontyne Price.
1. What is a " Spiritual" and how does th text of "Swing Low Sweet Chariot" relate to the spiritual?
2. In what ways are the four recordings similar?
3. Describe how the recrdings are different.
4. What is you favorite version and why
5. Critique and compare how each performer treated the meaning of the song.