Steal Away: A Message of Escape

Steal away

/stēl/ /əˈwā/


To leave furtively and stealthily 


The definition of the phrase “Steal Away” is to exit or escape from a person, place, or thing in a hurried pace.

Some people believe or understand this song to simply be used as a song of worship or longing to be with their god. However, it has been proven that Negro Spirituals were used to relay messages among slaves in order to reach freedom.

As you begin to dive into the lyrics of the song, I would like you to imagine the time period the song was created in, who sang the songs, and what circumstances this song was song in. 

*The translation provided is a personal interpretation, and is not presented without bias. Please use the provided scholarly sources at the end of the post if translations are needed for a school or work related project.

Official Lyrics



Steal away(2x)

Steal away to Jesus

Steal away

Steal away home

I ain’t got long to stay here


Verse 1

My Lord he calls me

He calls me by the thunder

The trumpet sounds within’ a my soul

I ain’t got long to stay here 


Verse 2

Green trees a bendin’

Poor sinner stands a tremblin’

The trumpet sounds within’ a my soul

I ain’t got long to stay here






Quickly, let’s get to safety


Quickly get home

There isn’t much time left


Verse 1

Our leader signals it’s time to go

He signals mightily

Freedom rings within my soul

I can’t stay in bondage much longer


Verse 2

The miracle of escape is manifesting

Master has no control, won’t be long before he’s


Freedom rings within my soul

I won’t be in bondage much longer

This particular song was used by many people who helped lead slaves to freedom. Some of those leaders consisted of Ms. Harriet Tubman and Mr. Nat Turner. Both leaders used this song as a means of gathering people who were headed to freedom and keeping them unified in their journey’s.

The wit, dedication, and success that our ancestors had were far beyond what slave owners thought slaves were capable of. Negro Spirituals show the inherit intellect and innovative spirit that African American people posses. 

Harriet Tubman ase.

Nat Turner ase.

Ancestors known and unknown ase.

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