A 106-year-old statue of Francis Scott Key, who famously wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner,” was found vandalized Wednesday morning in Baltimore.
According to the Baltimore Sun, someone spray-painted the words “racist anthem” on the monument in Bolton Hill, which was completely trashed by splashes of red and black paint.
Also written on the ground near the statue was the allegedly “racist” line in stanza three of Key’s poem, which reads:
No refuge could save, Hireling or slave,
From terror of flight, Or gloom of grave
Key’s brief allude to “slaves” in his poem, which would later become the National Anthem of the United States, has drawn widespread criticism from those perpetually unhappy few determined to be offended by…well, words.
Except that the line isn’t actually meant to be racist at all As explained here by Mark Clague, a musicologist and professor of music history, American culture, African and AfroAmerican studies at the University of Michigan, Key’s reference to “hirelings and slaves” in his 1814 poem was actually a jab at British soldiers, including both those who’d voluntarily joined the British military and those escaped black slaves from America who’d joined on the promise of emancipation.
In essence, Key was simply stating that the British army, including whites and blacks, would ultimately face the same defeat in the War of 1812 – a prediction that, fortunately for us, ended up coming true.
But of course, a basic understanding of history or modern property rights was too much to ask of whoever tagged the Baltimore statue.
(Cover photo: Twitter/Colin Campbell)
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