"I'm On My Way"
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"I'm on My Way to Freedom Land" is a traditional gospel song. This version is sung by the Birmingham Movement Choir, a large group that sang at mass meetings throughout Birmingham, Alabama, in 1963. They once performed for forty nights in a row during a particularly tense time in the civil rights movement. The actions of organizers in Birmingham, as well as the media coverage that they received, created support for the Civil Rights Bill of 1964.

Lyrics

I'm on my way to freedom land
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

I'm on my way to freedom land
I'm on my way to freedom land
I'm on my way to freedom land
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

If you don't go, don't you hinder me
If you don't go, don't hinder me
If you don't go, don't hinder me
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

It's an uphill journey, but I'm on my way
It's an uphill journey, but I'm on my way
It's an uphill journey, but I'm on my way
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

There is nothing you can do, to turn me around
There is nothing you can do, to turn me around
There is nothing you can do, to turn me around
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

I asked my mother, come and go with me
I asked my mother, come and go with me
I asked my mother, come and go with me
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

If my mother don't go, I'll go anyhow
If my mother don't go, I'll go anyhow
If my mother don't go, I'll go anyhow
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

Are you on your way, to freedom land
Are you on your way, to freedom land
Are you on your way, to freedom land
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

I'm on my way to freedom land
I'm on my way to freedom land
I'm on my way to freedom land
I'm on my way, oh Lord,
To freedom land.

(repeat)

"I'm On My Way" performed by the Birmingham Movement Choir from Sing For Freedom, recorded by Guy Caravan in Birmingham (SF 40032), provided courtesy of Smithsonian Folkways Recordings. © 1992. Used by permission.

All photographs are from the Civil Rights March on Washington, D.C., August 28, 1963 (Courtesy of the National Archives and Records Administration)