Sweet Chariot: The Long Journey to Freedom Through Time

Part of Monument Lab

A snippet of Sweet Chariot by Marisa Williamson. Photo by Steve Weinik.

  • location Washington Square
  • Neighborhood

    Center City

  • completion date

    November 20, 2017

Sweet Chariot site at the Pennsylvania Academy of the Fine Arts. Photo by Steve Weinik.

Visit the Sweet Chariot website

About the Project 

Sweet Chariot was an interactive video scavenger hunt, conceptualized and directed by artist Marisa Williamson. Using the Sweet Chariot image-recognition smartphone app and scratch-off map, audiences were invited to uncover a series of site-specific videos that revealed hidden moments in the landscape of historic Philadelphia, opening a window onto the African American struggle for freedom. The journey began in historic Washington Square, and invited viewers to look for clues hiding in plain sight, including images on signs, plaques, and murals. Each unlocked video presented a creative and collaborative interpretation of a story from Philadelphia’s African American history. As viewers experienced each video on location, the ultimate goal was to follow protagonist Amelia Brown (inhabited by Williamson) on her way “home” through interactions with historic figures such as Margaret Forten, Octavius Catto, and W.E.B. DuBois. Brown was based on a real Philadelphian whose gravestone was excavated in a former burial ground for Mother Bethel AME Church under current-day Weccacoe Park.


Major support for Monument Lab projects staged in Philadelphia’s five squares provided by The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. An expanded artist roster and projects at additional neighborhood sites made possible by the William Penn Foundation. Lead corporate support provided by Bank of America. Generous additional support provided by the National Endowment for the Arts.

For a full list of funders click here.