Follow the Drinking Gourd



Welcome to the Underground Railroad!  Let the journey begin!

1. Go to the following link to learn about the journey slaves took to find freedom in the North.  As you read about the journey, write down the cities and states the slave stopped in.  You will use these to make a map of this journey. (See attachment for a map of the United States that you can print off)


2. How did the slaves know which direction to go?  They knew they wanted to go North because that's where freedom was but how did they know which way was North?  They followed the stars!  They used the Big Dipper to go North.  Click on the following link to learn more about the Big Dipper, or as the slaves called it, the Drinking Gourd.


3. Now that you know more about the Big Dipper and that it points to the North Star.  We are going to listen to a song that the slaves sang as they made the trek from the South to the North.  This song is called Follow the Drinking Gourd.
Click on the link below to hear the song.  Follow along with the lyrics that are on the 2nd attachment.


4. The lyrics of this song have a hidden meaning, like a code to tell slaves the directions to Northern freedom.  Go to the next link to learn more about what these lyrics mean.  Then make an illustration for one of the lyrics of the song.


5. Now it's time to learn about some of the slaves and how they lived.  Click on the link below to find narratives of slaves.  Pick one of the slaves and record important information about the person you chose.  You will put this information in your journal to hand in at the end.


6. Finally, you will pick one person that helped with the Underground Railroad and research them.
The link below has a few of these people listed with a very short explanation of what they did.  You can click on this link to find a name of someone but you will need to do some further research to get enough information about the person.  When you find enough information, write about the person you chose in your journal that you will hand in at the end of this Webquest.


Here is another link to find more information about abolitionists, Underground Railroad stationmasters, an escapee's journey, and much more! Have fun exploring!


At the end of this project you should have a journal that you have made and put together with the following items in it:
- map of the United States with Underground Railroad path on it
- illustration of lyrics to "Follow the Drinking Gourd"
- Information written in paragraph form about a slave with an illustration
- Information written in paragraph form about someone that helped with the Underground Railroad and an illustration


  • File
    Description: Blank map of the United States

  • File
    Description: Lyrics for Follow the Drinking Gourd

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