The Good Raised Up is a dramatic composition for treble chorus, violin, percussion, piano and several narrators. The work is composed in eight sections and recounts a night in the 1850s when a Quaker family in Germantown protected a group of escaped slaves from capture by a band of federal marshals. Each of the eight sections focuses on a particular facet of the event or the historical context.

The first and second sections “Opening” and “There is a Saying” set the stage by outlining how the Quakers came to take their antislavery stance. “People Walked” shines a light on the experience of those who made their way from slavery to freedom using the network of safe houses known as the “Underground Railroad.”

With the next sections, “But in Philadelphia”, “In a House in Germantown”, and “By the Leading of the Light” the narrative focuses on the Johnson family in Germantown who made a bold decision to offer assistance and protection to freedom-seekers.

“Open Up!” is the dramatic climax of the work. When a group of federal marshals appears at the Johnson family’s home to search for escaped slaves, one of the Johnson brothers ingeniously hides the slaves on the roof while the other brother assures the search party that there are no slaves in the house.

The final section, “Indwelling Spirit” reflects on the ideals of the Johnson family and the Quaker faith. The text sung by the chorus echoes the opening narration, a quote by Robert Barclay, a noted Quaker writer and theologian of the 17th Century with the words “I find the evil weakening in me and the good raised up.”