Get Off the Track!

The Hutchinson Family Singers traveled the country performing together in the mid-1800s. They were strong abolitionists. In 1845 the group decided to sing Jesse Hutchinson's new abolitionist song as part of an upcoming concert in New York. When the public found out they were planning to sing this song, many became furious. They threatened to hurt the Hutchinsons if they sang it. The Hutchinsons decided to sing it anyway. One member of the group said they would sing the song, "if we have to die for it." After they finished singing this song, no one hurt them. Instead, "the applause was tremendously overwhelming." Emancipation is the process of freeing someone. In this song it refers to freeing slaves.


Get Off the Track
Get Off the Track

Soloist – Annie Boureston
Piano – Titus Anderson

The Hutchinson Family Singers


Ho! the car Emancipation
Rides majestic through our nation,
Bearing on its train the story,
Liberty! a nation’s glory.

Roll it along, roll it along, roll it along thro’ the nation,
Freedom’s car, Emancipation! Repeat

Let the ministers and churches
Leave behind sectarian lurches;
Jump on board the car of Freedom,
Ere it be too late to need them.

Sound the alarm! Sound the alarm! Sound the alarm! Pulpits thunder!
Ere too late you see your blunder! Repeat

Politicians gazed, astounded,
When, at first, our bell resounded;
Freight trains are coming, tell these foxes,
With our votes and ballot boxes.

Jump for your lives! Jump for your lives! Jump for your lives, politicians,
From your dangerous, false positions! Repeat

Hear the mighty car-wheels humming!
Now look out! the Engine’s coming!
Church and statesmen! hear the thunder!
Clear the track or you’ll fall under.

Get off the track! Get off the track! Get off the track, all are singing,
While the Liberty bell is ringing! Repeat

See the people run to meet us;
At the depots thousands greet us;
All take seats with exultation,
In the car Emancipation.

Huzza! Huzza! Huzza! Huzza! Huzza! Huzza! Emancipation
Soon will bless our happy nation! Repeat

This song is featured in the Our Star-Spangled Story curriculum.

Learn More