May. 6, 2017
These Two May Songs Aren't Celebratory They Are Racist
Every year on the first and third Saturdays of May the very best 3-year-old thoroughbreds run for the Roses in Louisville, Kentucky and the Black-eyed Susans in Baltimore, Maryland. These horse races are festive occasions with literally more than a hundred and fifty thousand celebrants enjoying the day at either Churchill Downs in Louisville, or Pimlico Race Track in Baltimore. The Kentucky Derby and the Preakness Stakes are the first two legs of the mythical Triple Crown of Horse Racing. Both of these races are basked in tradition but some of that tradition needs to be eliminated because of the message that that tradition implied.
If you are black what do you think when the crowd begins to sing two songs prior to the running of these races? You see tradition has held for many years the singing of the songs My Olde Kentucky Home for the Kentucky Derby, and Maryland, My Maryland for the Preakness Stakes. Both of these songs are tinged with racial hatred and bigotry. Oh, not in the lyrics song by those at the tracks but still the words were written into those songs by the original composers both of these men were surely not supporters of an open racial society. Let's take for instances the song
My Old Kentucky Home:
"The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
With sorrow where all was delight:
The time has come when the darkies have to part,
Then my old Kentucky Home, good night!
The head must bow and the back will have to bend,
Wherever the darkey may go:
A few more days and the trouble all will end
In the field where the sugar-canes grow."
This surely isn't a song that should still be revered by any state as it's celebratory song honoring the residents of all races and creeds in the 21st century. The hell with tradition this particular song needs to be placed in the same place where we are currently putting all those confederate monuments celebrating the rebels who intended to tear this nation asunder to keep an entire race of people enslaved. Just as states are making the decision that we need not continue to celebrate bigotry and hate any longer. We need to close the damn door on My Old Kentucky Home. You can still celebrate the first Saturday in May in Louisville without singing that particular song. Why would any person of color even want to be anywhere near anyone singing that song?
Now that brings me to the third Saturday in May in Baltimore, Maryland as the Naval Academy Choir sings the state song:
Maryland, My Maryland
I hear the distant thunder-hum,
The Old Line's bugle, fife, and drum,
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she'll come! she'll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!
This song was written by James Ryder Randall, whose clearly was not a proponent of an open racial society. This was written in 1860 and it was clearly by many of the stanzas of the poem now song clearly supported the cause of the confederacy. That being the support and continuance of the evil, vicious system of slavery. Maryland was, in fact, a border state with many supporters of the cause that the southern states were fighting for. Maryland also was the home of Supreme Court Chief Justice Roger Taney who wrote that dreaded 1857 judicial decision against Dred Scott. Clearly, this song needs to be eliminated from any festivities in the 21st century. Both of these songs were delivered to these events during a period when separation of the races was clearly the basis of life in America. The time has come for people of good sense and conscience to tell those who now deliver these national events to the American public. That neither song reflects the spirit that America wants to replicate any longer. Be like the Belmont Stakes the final leg of the Triple Crown and adopt a song that celebrates all the people of the state. New York, New York celebrates the spirit of the New Yorker and rises the attitude of acceptance rather than lowering the levels by looking at past acts of oppression. This is simply my opinion feel free to have your own but My Old Kentucky Home and My Maryland, My Maryland need to be placed in a dust-filled room and forgotten. It's appalling that either song is still the basis of any celebration.