Freedom Road

Written by Langston Hughes, music by Emerson Harper, recorded in 1944 by Josh White, one of FDR's favorite singers. White's brother Billy was Eleanor Roosevelt's chauffeur. Josh White and the Golden Gate Quartet sang at the WBT radio station in Charlotte, NC, during the 1930s, and were invited to sing at the Library of Congress in 1940 for the concert memorializing the 75th anniversary of the end of slavery. White performed on radio for the OWI during the war, and was a member of the Almanac Singers founded by Pete Seeger. The "Freedom Road" recording session was sponsored by the CIO for its collection, "Citizen CIO" to create support for the war effort among workers and union members. The recording is included in the album, "That's Why We're Marching: World War II and the American Folk Song Movement," (Smithsonian/Folkways 1996).

1940 concert
2000 book

That's why I'm marching, yes, I'm marching,
Marching down freedom's road.
Ain't nobody gonna stop me, nobody gonna keep me,
From marching down freedom's road.

Hand me my gun, let the bugle blow loud,
I'm on my way with my head a-proud,
One objective I've got in view,
Is to keep a hold of freedom for me and you

That's why I'm marching, yes, I'm marching,
Marching down freedom's road.
Ain't nobody gonna stop me, nobody gonna keep me,
From marching down freedom's road.

Ought to be plain as the nose on your face,
There's room in this plan for every race,
Some folk think that freedom just ain't right,
Those are the very people I want to fight.
That's why I'm marching, yes, I'm marching,
Marching down freedom's road.

Ain't nobody gonna stop me, nobody gonna keep me,
From marching down freedom's road.
Now, Hitler may rant, Hirohito may rave,
I'm going after freedom if it leads me to my grave.
That's why I'm marching, yes, I'm marching,
I'm marching down freedom's road.

United we stand, divided we fall,
Let's make this land safe for one and all.
I've got a message, and you know it's right,
Black and white together unite and fight.

That's why I'm marching, yes, I'm marching,
Marching down freedom's road.
Ain't no fascists gonna stop me, no Nazis gonna keep me,
From marching down freedom's road.

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revised 3/20/07 by Steven Schoenherr | Songs