Wednesday, February 21, 2018
NAACP Alleges Star-Spangled Banner is Racist; Wants it Replaced
11/10/2017 5:58:43 PM
Arthur J. Villasanta - Fourth Estate Contributor

Sacramento, CA, United States (4E) - The California chapter of the renowned civil rights organization, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), demands the U.S. Congress strip "The Star-Spangled Banner" of its status as the country's national anthem on account of its allegedly racist lyrics.

NAACP has filed two resolutions in Congress that aim to get rid of the national anthem which they say is "one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon." It also wants Congress to find a new national anthem.

"This song is wrong; it shouldn't have been there, we didn't have it till 1931, so it won't kill us if it goes away," said Alice Huffman, NAACP chapter president.

Raising the NAACP's hackles is the third couplet in the third stanza of the full version of The Star-Spangled Banner. This contentious couplet reads:

"No refuge could save the hireling and slave

"From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,"

Huffman claims the lyrics celebrate the deaths of black slaves in their fight for freedom in the War of 1812.

On the other hand, historians have argued about the meaning of the couplet for decades. Some suggest the couplet refers to the anthem's author, Francis Scott Key, rejoicing in the massacre of former slaves that supported the British.

It's a fact that Key fought in court to help slaves. But Key opposed owned slaves and said blacks were "a distinct and inferior race of people, which all experience proves to be the greatest evil that afflicts a community."

Only the first stanza of the anthem is played at gatherings, however. The other three, also referred to as the "unknown lyrics" are rarely, if ever, played.

The complete version of "The Star-Spangled Banner" with the original spelling and punctuation from Francis Scott Key's manuscript:

O say can you see, by the dawn's early light,

What so proudly we hail'd at the twilight's last gleaming,

Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight

O'er the ramparts we watch'd were so gallantly streaming?

And the rocket's red glare, the bomb bursting in air,

Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,

O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep

Where the foe's haughty host in dread silence reposes,

What is that which the breeze, o'er the towering steep,

As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?

Now it catches the gleam of the morning's first beam,

In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,

'Tis the star-spangled banner - O long may it wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,

That the havoc of war and the battle's confusion

A home and a Country should leave us no more?

Their blood has wash'd out their foul footstep's pollution.

No refuge could save the hireling and slave

From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,

And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand

Between their lov'd home and the war's desolation!

Blest with vict'ry and peace may the heav'n rescued land

Praise the power that hath made and preserv'd us a nation!

Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,

And this be our motto - "In God is our trust,"

And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave

O'er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

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