all horrific. Well somebody with brains had to get together and formulate a plan
to escape. And they did.
Escaping slaves went north. Northern states like New York and Massachusetts had
strong abolitionist societies and benevolent groups that were black and white. These
groups helped slaves to escape. The slaves’ final destination was Canada, which is
north of the US border.
The North Star is also known as Polaris. It never changes position. It always
points toward North. People have used a collection of stars to help them find
the North Star. They have called this group of stars many names, depending
on how they saw the picture created by the stars. Sometimes people thought
the group resembled like a BIG BEAR. In fact, the Latin name for this collection
of stars was Ursa Major, or Big Bear.At other times, people thought the group of stars like a dipper
with a cup that used to have a very long handle. Slaves knew
this group of stars was called the Drinking Gourd. They occasionally
used hollowed-out gourds to dip and drink water. The gourds resembled
long handle cups. Two stars on the cup’s edge always point to the North Star.
By finding the drinking gourd in the sky, people traveling at night could
always find the North Star.
Escaping slaves like Harriet Tubman, James Pennington, and Josiah
Henson have followed the Drinking Gourd to freedom. Today people know
of a song called “Follow the Drinking Gourd.” It discusses people escaping
slavery by follow clues to go north to freedom. The song is a blending of
old ideas and new words by many musicians.
I always knew about the Underground Railroad, but how many people
know about the Drinking Gourd song? I feel like more of it needs to be taught
about in schools.Many times stars will show the way.