- The Washington Times - Saturday, March 20, 2021

The Maryland Senate voted unanimously Friday to repeal the state song, “Maryland, My Maryland,” a pro-Confederate anthem written at the start of the Civil War by Baltimore native James Ryder Randall.

Members of the Maryland House of Delegates voted 94-38 days earlier to ditch the song, although it was unclear if Gov. Larry Hogan, a Republican, would sign the bill into law once it reaches his desk.

Written in April 1861, the song’s lyrics refer to then-President Abraham Lincoln as a “despot” and “tyrant” and speaks in support of Maryland seceding from the U.S. and fighting “Northern scum.”

Randall, a poet and journalist living in Louisiana when he wrote the words, had been “outraged” over Union troops marching into Baltimore, according to the Maryland State Archives official website.

A report issued by the archives in 2015 described the song as a “plea” for the state to secede from the U.S. and join the Confederacy like neighboring Virginia. Maryland ultimately did not.

The song is sung to the tune of the traditional folk song “Lauriger Horatius,” which had been repurposed earlier during the 19th century as the Christmas tune “O Tannenbaum,” or “O Christmas Tree.”

“Maryland, My Maryland” was officially made the state song in 1939, although a number of institutions have effectively abandoned the tune in recent years. The University of Maryland’s marching band stopped playing it at sporting events in 2017, and last year it was scrapped from the annual Preakness Stakes horse race at the Pimlico Race Course in Baltimore, for example.

Mr. Hogan previously said in 2015 that he opposed changing the state song, calling it “political correctness run amok,” The Washington Post reported at the time.

Asked more recently about the effort, The Baltimore Sun reported Friday that Mr. Hogan‘s office said he “will thoughtfully review any legislation that reaches his desk.

• Andrew Blake can be reached at ablake@washingtontimes.com.

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