Title: Good News the Chariots a Comin’
Artist: Ruth Starr Rose
Size: 16.5″ x 12.5″
Credit: Gift of the Harmon Foundation
Description: The main image is an airplane that has flown off from Earth. Earth is in the background, in the lower left corner. In the top center is an airplane with three angels sitting on each wing and the center body of the airplane playing horns. Flowing down from the airplane, from its tail towards Earth in an arch are five angels, one with a parachute. Between them are pieces of paper and books, with some that say “PEACE”. On the left side of the plane, flowing down similar to the right/back side, are four more angels flowing down towards Earth in the same arching pattern as the back, with more paper and books that also say “PEACE” on some.
Sometimes labeled as “Good News, Chariots-a-Comin'” or “Good News, the Chariot’s Coming,” Good News the Chariots a Comin’ by Ruth Starr Rose, gives a modern twist to the spiritual as many of her other pieces do. The “chariot” in this case is an airplane guided by three angels with horns. The lyrics talk about a chariot that is coming to take people to heaven and the singer insists that they don’t want to be left behind. They’re hopeful for the things they’ll find in heaven (a long white robe, a starry crown, and a golden harp) and the only thing they fear is being left behind.
Thanks to a listing in the March 31, 1874 Rochester Democrat and Chronicle, we know the Hampton Students sang “Good News, the Chariot’s Coming” in conjunction with “Oh Swing Low, Sweet Chariot” as part of the second half of their concert. The concert was a completely packed, standing room only event (something that hadn’t happened, according to the author, “for many weeks”), featuring thirteen students from Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute at Corinthian Hall.
The Southern 4. “(a) Good News, Chariot’s Comin’! (b) O Mary, Doan You Weep, Doan You Moan.” Internet Archive, 1921. https://archive.org/details/78_a-good-news-chariots-comin-b-o-mary-doan-you-weep-doan-you-moan_the-south_gbia0083604b.