I recently read an article about Bob Dylan's 2001 album Love and Theft that featured a few fun facts about Chuck Berry's song "The Promised Land" (lyrics noded by NothingLasts4ever above). Quoted from "Bob Dylan: Sometimes He Talks Crazy, Crazy like a Song" by Greil Marcus, The New York Times, September 2, 2001. The article is a pretty flattering review of Love and Theft (excerpt: "It was the great 1927 Mississippi flood, it was Noah's flood, it was Iowa just last spring, it was the entire last century as a giant mistake, crying out for its own cleansing, asking to be washed away before it was too late."), which begins by relating an interview with Dylan in the story of a conversational evening in a local eccentric's parlor.
The song was written when Berry was in Federal prison in Sprinfield, Mo., the man tells you ("When he wanted an atlas to get the route right, they thought he was planning an escape!") but he's just warming up. "See, what the song is really about is the civil rights movement, the Freedom Riders, the way he plans the Po' Boy's bus route to avoid Rock Hill, that's in North Carolina, a Klan town, then the bus breaks down in Birmingham, where the Klan blew up a church and killed four little girls, that was in 1963, 'turned into a struggle', see? It's all in this book by a professor named W. T. Lhamon, Deliberate Speed."