Follow the Drinking Gourd
version, complete with coloring page and crossword puzzle, is available here.
"Find the north, and you'll find
But which direction was north?
Slaves knew the promise of freedom lay to the north, but they didn't know
how to get there. In a desperate effort to keep their slaves from running
away, masters tried to prevent them from learning any directions.
"They find out which was is east, then they figure out west. The next thing
you know, they figure out which way is north," went the old
Yet the deliberate attempts to keep slaves ignorant, and therefore enslaved,
were destined to fail. Slowly the word spread that to find freedom, one had
only to look to the skies. With the north star pointing the way, thousands
began the perilous journey to freedom. Those who could not or would not attempt
the journey at least wanted to ensure that their children knew how to
So, as soon as slave children were
old enough to understand, their parents would take them outside, point out the
big dipper -- the "drinking gourd" -- and teach them this song. For at the end
of the "drinking gourd" was the north star. And the path of the north star was
the path to freedom.
When the sun comes back,
and the first Quail calls,
Follow the drinking gourd,
For the old man is waiting
for to carry you to freedom
If you follow the drin