Swing Low Sweet Chariot: England rugby bosses won’t ban slave-era song; will educate fans on its history

The “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” song is one of the most recognized African-American spirituals, rooted in the horrors of US slavery and the oppression of race.

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, the RFU said in June it was reviewing the song’s use at games, saying many fans might not be aware of its “historical context.”
In a statement released on Thursday, the organization, which oversees English rugby, said it intends to educate fans “on the history and provenance of the song as well as providing platforms for diverse voices across the game.”

“The RFU needs to step up its efforts to improve diversity and inclusion across our game,” RFU Chair Andy Cosslett said. “We are living through testing times, but this will not deter us from grasping the opportunity to better reflect the society we live in.

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England rugby bosses won’t ban slave-era song; will educate fans on its history

England’s Rugby Football Union (RFU) has decided not to ban fans from chanting a slave-era song — “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” — during matches but will “proactively educate” on its history.



a large crowd of people: Rugby fans in the stands during the Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London.


© Press Association via AP Images
Rugby fans in the stands during the Six Nations match at Twickenham Stadium, London.

The “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” song is one of the most recognized African-American spirituals, rooted in the horrors of US slavery and the oppression of race.

In the aftermath of George Floyd’s death, the RFU said in June it was reviewing the song’s use at games, saying many fans might not be aware of its “historical context.”

In a statement released on Thursday, the organization, which oversees English rugby, said it intends to educate fans “on the history and provenance of the song as well as providing platforms for diverse voices across the game.”

“The RFU needs to

Read More