ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) – Maryland lawmakers gave the final passage Monday to repeal the State Song, a Civil War-era call to arms for the Confederacy against the referenced “scum of the North” to President Abraham Lincoln as a despot.
The Maryland House of Delegates vote comes after decades of debate over the song called “Maryland, My Maryland.” He sends the measure to Republican Governor Larry Hogan.
Governor’s spokesman Michael Ricci declined to say whether Hogan would sign the bill as it was not formally presented to him, but he noted that the governor said he didn’t like the song. .
The song, set to the traditional seasonal melody of “O, Tannenbaum”, was written as a poem in 1861 by James Ryder Randall. It was adopted as an official song in 1939. Maryland lawmakers have tried to replace it since 1974.
Last year’s nationwide protests against racial injustice and police brutality following the death of George Floyd in Minnesota and other police-related deaths helped bolster the resolve to finally repeal “Maryland, My Maryland”. As a state song.
“There was a feeling of too much is enough,” said Senator Cheryl Kagan, who sponsored the bill this year for her third time.
The measure passed the State Senate 45-0. The House passed Bill 95-38 on Monday, as a former Minneapolis police officer was tried for murder and manslaughter in Floyd’s death in May.
Maryland was a border state in 1861, and many of its residents at the time sympathized with Randall’s call to separate from the Union. He wrote it when he was bowled over by a friend’s shooting in a melee when Union troops passed through Baltimore on their way to Washington.
The song begins with a hostile reference to Lincoln: “The despot’s heel is on your shore, Maryland! His torch is at the door of your temple, Maryland!
Previous attempts to change him have been blocked by disagreements over the search for a replacement. This time, the authors avoided this debate by repealing it without replacing it.
Opposition to the song has grown in recent years.
In 2017, the University of Maryland Marching Band announced it would no longer play “Maryland, My Maryland” before football games. Last year, Pimlico Race Course, home to the Preakness Stakes in Baltimore which is part of the Triple Crown of horse racing, abandoned its tradition of playing the song before the race.
“It’s not just a question of legislation. This is a consensus that has developed over the years, ”said Kagan, a Democrat.
Other legacies of Confederation were suppressed in Maryland and across the country.
Days after violent protests in Charlottesville, Virginia in 2017, Maryland officials removed from the Capitol a statue of Roger Taney, the United States Supreme Court justice whose 1857 ruling Dred Scott upheld slavery and denied citizenship to African Americans.
Last year, Mississippi adopted a magnolia symbol by replacing the last state flag of the United States with the Confederate Battle Emblem. Virginia removed busts and a statue honoring Confederate generals and officials from its Capitol, including a bronze statue of General Robert E. Lee.