US academics critical of England's use of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"

The England rugby fans regularly sing the slave anthem at test matches

US academics critical of England's use of "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot"

Englnd fans. Image: ©INPHO/Ryan Byrne

A number of US academics have criticised the use of the slave anthem "Swing Low, Sweet Chariot" by English rugby supporters.

The origins of the song relate back to a brutal time in American history during the era of slave trade and the anthem became a spiritual song for the 19th-century African-American and the struggles they endured.

Speaking to the New York Times, Josephine Wright, a professor of music and black studies at the College of Wooster in Ohio said: "Such cross-cultural appropriations of US slave songs betray a total lack of understanding of the historical context in which those songs were created by the American slave."

Music history professor Arthur Jones added: "I feel like the story of American chattel slavery and this incredible cultural tradition, built up within a community of people who victims and often seen as incapable of standing up for themselves, is such a powerful story that I want the whole world to know about it.

"But apparently not everyone does," he added.

England face Scotland this weekend looking to equal the record of 18 consecutive wins by a tier one nation which was set by New Zealand up until they lost to Ireland in Chicago last November.

Scotland head to Twickenham knowing a win will earn them the Triple Crown and Calcutta Cup as well as halting the home side's run.