Follow the Drinkin' Gourd

Southeast Region

This song was used as a way of passing information to runaway slaves on the Underground Railway as they escaped to Canada . It gave directions in code for slaves escaping between 1840 and 1860.  The illiterate slaves who were always in danger of being recaptured were aided by agents as they traveled north.

Lyrics:

Refrain:          Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd,
                        Follow the Drinkin’ Gourd,
                        For the Old Man is a waitin’ for to carry you to freedom,
                        If you follow the Drinkin’ Gourd.

  1. When the sun comes back and the first quail calls,
    Follow the Drinkin' Gourd.
    Then the Old Man is a waitin' for to carry you to freedom,
    If you follow the Drinkin' Gourd.  (Refrain)

  2. Oh, the riverbank makes a very true road.
    Dead trees will show you the way.
    And the left foot, peg foot, travellin' on,
    Just you follow the Drinkin' Gourd.  (Refrain)

  3. Now the river ends in between two hills,  
    Follow the Drinkin' Gourd.
    And there's another river on the other side.
    Just you follow the Drinkin' Gourd.  (Refrain)

  4. When the great big river meets the little river,
    Follow the Drinkin' Gourd.
    For the Old Man is a waitin' for to carry you to freedom
    If you follow the Drinkin' Gourd.  (Refrain)

You can find a version of this song in Silver Burdett's Making Music 4th Grade, 
MacMillan/McGraw-Hill's Share the Music 6th Grade and MacMillan/McGraw-Hill's Spotlight On Music  5th Grade

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With thanks to Sharon Ogorzalek
 Created: July 2005, Last Updated: 07/28/10
 http://OutsideTheBox93.org