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Follow the Drinking Gourd:
A Cultural History

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The Song as History Notes

(1) Escapees from the South

"Very few successful freedom seekers were from the Deep South. The Canadian census of 1861...found that about 80 percent of the Southern-born blacks then living there came from just three states, Virginia, Maryland, and Kentucky..."

Fergus M. Bordewich, Bound for Canaan, Amistad, an imprint of HarperCollins, 2005, p. 115.

(2) Southern Illinois

Another example: When Underground Railroad veteran Seth Concklin was scoping out an escape route for a family he was assisting, he "hoped to land the family in southern Illinois, but he was dismayed to find that region infested with proslavery sentiment and exceptionally strong support for the Fugitive Slave Law." Fergus M. Bordewich, op cit, p. 358.

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