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In this song the repeated line "Follow the Drinkin' Gourd" is thus often interpreted as instructions to escaping slaves to travel north by following the North Star.

Sarah Bradford's biography of Tubman, Scenes in the Life of Harriet Tubman, published in 1869, quotes Tubman as saying that she used Go Down Moses as one of two code songs to communicate with fugitive enslaved people escaping from Maryland. B Parks: "One of my great-uncles, who was connected with the railroad movement, remembered that in the records of the Anti-Slavery Society there was a story of a peg-leg sailor, known as Peg-Leg Joe, who made a number of trips through the South and induced young Negroes to run away and escape… Or, go to System Requirements from your laptop or desktop.Kidnapped in Africa and subsequently enslaved in South Carolina, Aminata must navigate a revolution in New York, isolation in Nova Scotia, and the treacherous jungles of Sierra Leone, in an attempt to secure her freedom in the eighteenth century.As it was illegal in most slave states to teach slaves to read or write, songs were used to communicate messages and directions about when, where, and how to escape, and warned of dangers and obstacles along the route.In this song the repeated line "Follow the Drinkin' Gourd" is thus often interpreted as instructions to escaping slaves to travel north by following the North Star, leading them to the northern states, Canada, and freedom: The song ostensibly encodes escape instructions and a map from Mobile, Alabama up the Tombigbee River, over the divide to the Tennessee River, then downriver to where the Tennessee and Ohio rivers meet in Paducah, Kentucky. This song might have boosted the morale and spirit of the slaves, giving them hope that there was a place waiting that was better than where they were.

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