Pop quiz: What’s the state song of Maryland?
Don’t worry if you didn’t know the answer (“Maryland, My Maryland”); the song has never been all that well known, even though it does make a cameo appearance in a scene from Gone With the Wind. Recently, though, the state song has been getting more attention than usual–and not for a happy reason.
The lyrics of “Maryland, My Maryland” are drawn from an 1861 poem by a Confederate sympathizer; they refer to Abraham Lincoln as a “tyrant” and “despot,” refers to the Union as “Northern scum,” and is just a generally angry, war-like song about fighting on behalf of the Confederacy. As Confederate monuments increasingly came under scrutiny this summer, a state delegate raised the issue of the state song. Maryland officials asked an eight-member panel of historians and musicians to review “Maryland, My Maryland.” That panel recommended making changes to the nine-verse song–perhaps cutting out or tinkering with some of the more vehemently Confederate language, or keeping the tune but swapping out the words for those from another poem conveniently titled “Maryland, My Maryland.”
Any change to the anthem would still have a long road through the state legislature.
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