A Maryland bill aims to demote Maryland’s current state song from “official” to “historic” amid concerns over derogatory language.
Most Maryland residents probably don’t know the state had their own song, much less be able to sing it. The state song named “Maryland, My Maryland” may not hold that title for long if a State Senate bill pulls through.
The state song was created in 1939 when a poem on the Civil War was set to music. The poem was written in 1961 by James Ryder, a Maryland resident who left the state to live in the Confederacy. He wrote the poem to express his outrage over Union troops and to promote the secession of Maryland. The song has been controversial over its language such as “Northern scum” and admiration of the Confederacy.
This bill comes in a time when there’s growing concern over Confederates’ flags and statues across the country. In Maryland, public concern has been raised in the past over the song. In August 2017, the University of Maryland marching band decided to stop playing the state song during games. The university even hosted a contest to come up with new lyrics for the song. Legislation has also been introduced in the past to demote the song and strip it of its title as the state song. The current Senate bill is the first to gain preliminary approval.
Senate Bill 790 is sponsored by Senators Kagan, Feldman, Lee, Madaleno, Pinsky and Robinson. Although the bill aims to get rid of the current state song, it does not name a replacement song. Bill sponsor Senator Cheryl Kagan states, “It is imperative that the current State song be retired and that a new State song be adopted that honors the past, celebrates the present, and anticipates the bright future of this State and its residents.”
On Wednesday, March 14, the Senate voted favorably on the bill and gave preliminary approval by a vote of 25-19.
What do you think? Should the song be replaced? What would you like to see as the new state song? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.