Calls by activists, historians and journalists to replace The Star Spangled Banner as the national anthem because it was written by slave owner Francis Scott Key and potentially replace him with John Lennon’s Imagine sparks growing outrage .
Historian Daniel E. Walker and activist and journalist Kevin Powell made the remarks in an article written by Yahoo Music editor Lyndsey Parker titled “Why it might be time to finally replace The Star-Spangled Banner with a new national anthem.”
They say that because the song was written by Francis Scott Key, a white slave owner who made openly racist remarks, it is no longer appropriate that the lyrics he wrote are still the national anthem being given the cultural calculation and recognition of systemic racism in America. .
Powell suggested Lennon’s Imagine as a replacement, calling it “the most beautiful, unifying genre of song, for all people and walks of life you can possibly have.”
The interview has now angered many Twitter users who say it is an example of the Black Lives Matter movement being used to “erase American history”.
Daniel E. Walker and activist and journalist Kevin Powell both argued the song should be replaced. Powell suggested John Lennon’s Imagine as an alternative
The Star Spangled Banner played at the Super Bowl in February by Demi Lovato
Walker, who is also an author, said in the interview: “The 53-year-old man in me says we can’t change things that have been around forever.
“But then there are these young people who say America has to live up to its true credo.
Star Spangled Banner Lyrics
O say, can you see, in the first light of dawn,
What did we so proudly greet in the last light of twilight,
Whose broad stripes and stars shining through the perilous combat,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were streaming so gallantly?
And the red glow of the rocket, the bombs bursting in the air,
Proved proof all night that our flag was still there;
O say does that starry banner still wave
O’er the land of the free and the house of the brave?
On the shore faintly seen through the mists of the abyss,
Where the haughty host of the enemy rests in fearful silence,
What is the breeze, on the steep steep,
How he blows intermittently, half conceal, half reveal?
Now he catches the glow of the first ray of the morning,
In full reflected glory now shines in the stream:
It is the star-spangled banner, oh long that it waves
O’er the land of the free and the house of the brave.
And where is this group that swore with such pride
May the ravages of war and the confusion of battle,
A house and a country, should they not leave us?
Their blood washed the pollution from their filthy footsteps.
No refuge could save the mercenary and the slave
From the terror of flight, or the darkness of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph waves,
O’er the land of the free and the house of the brave.
so be it forever, when free men stand
Between their beloved homes and the desolation of war.
Happy with victory and peace, that heaven has saved the earth
Praise the Power that made and preserved us a nation!
So to conquer we must, when our cause is right,
And this is our motto: “In God is our trust”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph will wave
O’er the land of the free and the house of the brave!
“And so, I side with people who say we should rethink this as the national anthem, because it is about the deeply rooted legacy of slavery and white supremacy in America, where we do.” things over and over that are a slap in the face to people of color and women.
“We do it first because we knew what we were doing and wanted to be sexist and racist. And now we are doing it under the guise of “legacy”.
The lyrics come from the 1814 poem Defense of Fort M’Henry that Key, the son of a prominent white family, wrote after seeing British troops descend to Fort McHenry between September 13-14, 1814.
American troops defended Baltimore harbor overnight, and in the morning Key was inspired by the sight of the American flag flying above the battlefield.
It became the national anthem in 1931.
Among the lyrics are: “No refuge could save the hireling and the slave,
“Of the terror of flight, or of the darkness of the grave.
Historians have long disagreed about what Key meant.
Some say he deduced that the slaves who joined the British Colonial Marines deserved to die in battle.
Others argue that he was referring to British forces in their entirety.
Key made other more racist remarks elsewhere.
Powell said in the Yahoo interview: “The Star-Spangled Banner was written by Francis Scott Key, who was literally born into a wealthy, slaving family in Maryland.
“He was a very well-to-do lawyer in Washington, DC, and eventually became very close to President Andrew Jackson, who was the Donald Trump of his day, which meant there was a lot of hatred, violence and division.
“At that time, there were attacks on Native Americans and blacks – both free blacks and slaves – and Francis Scott Key was really one of them.
“He was also the brother-in-law of someone who became a Supreme Court justice, Roger Taney, who also had a very tough slavery policy. And so, this is all problematic. And the fact that Key, when he was a lawyer, also pursued abolitionists, white and black, who wanted an end to slavery, says he’s someone who really didn’t believe in freedom for all.
“And yet we celebrate it with this national anthem, every time we sing it.
“Francis Scott Key was an important man in terms of American colonization of society.
“It wasn’t just a person who lived at the time.
“He’s a person who helped define the period. “
He and Walker aren’t the first to bring attention to Key and his role in the story amid the ongoing Black Lives Matter movement.
Late high school singer Liana Morales declined to perform the song at her virtual graduation ceremony, choosing to sing Lift Every Voice and Sing instead.
A statue of Key in San Francisco was knocked down by protesters.
But critics have jumped on calls to replace the national anthem, calling it a “stupid” idea and saying it amounts to “waking people up” trying “to erase American history.”
Twitter jumped into criticism of the idea that the song should be replaced. Among those who tweeted, reporter Yashar Ali called the Yahoo article “stupid”
Among the critics was Megyn Kelly who tweeted: “And… this is the national anthem.”
Others said: “They want to remove the national anthem and the flag is next. People won’t let them erase the truth from American history! Shame on YOU @YahooEnt ‘
Cancel Culture is the name now given to the growing trend to fire people, dismantle institutions, and dismantle systems because they are seen as offensive or racist.
The national race for racial equality was sparked by the murder of George Floyd in May by cops in Minneapolis who knelt on his neck for nine minutes as he pleaded he couldn’t breathe.
It sparked a global discussion of police brutality and brought to light almost every other aspect of American life where racism persists, leading to an almost universal commitment to less prejudice.
Part of the movement has seen the overthrow of Confederate statues across America and the withdrawal of offensive pop culture media.
Gone with the Wind was removed from streaming services because it was accused of glorifying white slavery and privilege.
While many say this is a long overdue overhaul of pop culture, others, namely the Conservatives, think it goes too far.
Francis Scott Key: The slave owner who wrote the lyrics for The Star Spangled Banner who thought black people were “inferior”
Francis Scott Key was a lawyer and a prominent figure in Maryland. His family were prolific plantation owners in Maryland.
On the evening of September 13-14, 1814, he observed the bombardment of Fort McHenry from the Tonner, a British ship.
He had gone on one of the British ships to secure the release of an American doctor who had been placed in their care.
He wrote to a friend as he watched aboard the ship while Fort McHenry and Baltimore were under siege by the British, convinced that the fort would be conquered.
Finally, at the end of the battle, he watched the sunrise over a huge American flag that fluttered at the fort.
The flag measured 30 x 42 feet and was sewn by Mary Young Pickersgill at the request of Major Armistead, the commander of the fort.
When the British withdrew from the port, he was freed. Later, his brother-in-law found the words he had written on a piece of paper at home and had them printed in a journal in the form of a poem called Defense of Fort M’Henry.
Within weeks, the poem was printed in newspapers across the country.
It was not until 1931 that the song was conferred as a national anthem by President Hoover, and officially named The Star-Spangled Banner.
Key was both an opponent of slavery and a defender of it.
He believed that African Americans should “return” to Africa and he was part of the American Colonization Society which led to the establishment of an independent Liberia on the west coast of Africa in 1847.
Key died in 1843, without seeing his poem become the national anthem.