Apr 26, 2011 - 'Swing Low' signed into law as Oklahoma's official gospel song

From the Tulsa World

By BARBARA HOBEROCK World Capitol Bureau

OKLAHOMA CITY — “Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” will be the state’s gospel song effective Nov. 1.

Gov. Mary Fallin signed Senate Bill 73 by Sen. Judy Eason McIntyre and Rep. Jabar Shumate, both Tulsa Democrats, while attending the 19th Biennial A.C. Hamlin Awards Banquet on Monday evening.

A.C. Hamlin was the first black person elected to the state Legislature.

“I was surprised and so happy the governor chose that time to sign the bill,” McIntyre said.

McIntyre, who will not seek another term, was among those honored at the banquet, which is sponsored by the Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus.

“Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” was written by Wallis Willis, a Choctaw freedman, in 1862 in Indian Territory.

“I’m really excited,” Shumate said. “It is not often Oklahoma can lay claim to something with such national and international respect.”

McIntyre said she received a lot of mail on the measure from people who questioned why the Legislature was spending time on the bill when the state had more pressing needs.

“It is something for all Oklahomans to be proud of,” she said.