ANNAPOLIS, Md. (WJZ) — Bills in the General Assembly are calling for the repeal of “Maryland, My Maryland” as the official state song.
“This is not a new issue, nor is it complicated,” Sen. Cheryl Kagan, sponsor of SB0008 said. “We must repeal Maryland’s offensive, Confederate-themed state song.”READ MORE: COVID-19 In Maryland: More Than 1K New Cases & 17 Deaths Reported Sunday
SB0008 and HB0667 aim to repeal the song based on its origin and writer.
The song was written in 1861 by Baltimore native James Ryder Randall, who historians say was a Confederate sympathizer. It was written at the same time a pro-Confederate mob in Baltimore attacked Union troops marching through the city.
“Their lyrics are offensive. They are racist. They are a call to arms against our own country. They do not reflect who we are or who we aspire to be,” state archivist Tim Baker testified Thursday.READ MORE: 5-Year-Old Grazed By Bullet In Southwest Baltimore, Police Say
The song begins by referring to a “despot,” who historians say is a reference to President Abraham Lincoln, and ends with a call against “Northern scum.”
“They enshrine a world in which slavery was considered righteous,” former state archivist Edward Papenfuse testified.
Similar bills were introduced in four of the last five legislative sessions but failed.
The University of Maryland Marching Band announced in 2017 it would stop playing the song. Last year, the Maryland Jockey Club stopped playing it at the Preakness Stakes.MORE NEWS: COVID-19 In Maryland: 1.5K New Cases & 17 Deaths Reported Saturday
Requests for the governor’s position were not returned, although he has previously pushed back on efforts to change the song.