follow the drinking gourd

LEGEND: Peg Leg Joe was an old man who travelled throughout the South teaching the slaves a song, Follow the Drinking Gourd. The words of the song contained coded directions to travel north (Underground Railroad). The Drinking Gourd was code for the Big Dipper.

Here are two renditions of the song on You Tube: One with reinactment and historical images. Another sung by young African America young women with dialogue and a piano accompaniment --- beautiful.

See another version of this painting.

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When the sun comes back
    and the first quail calls
Follow the drinking gourd
The old man is a-waitin' for
    to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

Follow the drinking gourd,
follow the drinking gourd
For the old man is a-waitin'
to carry you to freedom
Follow the drinking gourd

The river bank makes a
     mighty fine road,
Dead trees to show you the way
And it's left foot, peg foot, traveling on
Follow the drinking gourd

The river ends between two hills
Follow the drinking gourd
There's another river on
     the other side
Follow the drinking gourd

Follow the Drinking Gourd
24 X 30

Prints available of the graphic - contact me


follow the drinking gourd

I often do graphic editions of my paintings. Follow the Drinking Gourd was choosen for the 2011 Freedom Road concert branding for the Millennium Chorus Concert in Australia (as shown on the left).

NOTE: Both the painting and the graphic, Follow the Drinking Gourd are copyrighted and registered with the Library of Congress.


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skgreen, s.k.