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Melanie Clarin -- Follow the Drinking Gourd

The 'Drinking Gourd' refers to the stars of the Big Dipper constellation, pointing the North Star (Polaris). The song was reportedly used as a kind of Underground Railroad map guiding the route of escaped slaves to freedom. It was first published in 1928. Lee Hayes published the song in 1947 in something like its current form in the People's Songs Bulletin. In the following decades the song featured prominently in the civil rights movement and in the folk song movement. For more Songs of Immigration, Deportation and Identity, go here.