Maryland House leader pledges repeal of state song over Confederate imagery

Maryland House leader pledges repeal of state song over Confederate imagery
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The Speaker of Maryland's House of Delegates said Tuesday that the legislature will pass a bill repealing the status of "Maryland, My Maryland," as the state's official song due to its Confederate themes and negative depiction of former President Lincoln.

The Associated Press reported that Del. Adrienne Jones (D), the state's first Black Speaker of the House of Delegates, said in a statement Tuesday that “Confederate-sympathizing language is not representative of who we are as a state any longer."

“This session, we will pass legislation to repeal the state song so we can better reflect our current values of unity, diversity and inclusion,” Jones said. "We have come too far as a state and as a country to continue to embrace symbols of hate and division.”

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The office of Maryland's centrist GOP governor, Larry Hogan, did not immediately respond to questions as to whether he would support repealing the state song.

"Maryland, My Maryland," written originally as a poem by James Ryder Randall in 1861, refers to Lincoln as a "vandal," "despot," and "tyrant," while urging Marylanders to secede from the Union and join the Confederacy.

A musical version of the poem was adopted as the state song by the Maryland legislature in 1939, more than 70 years after the surrender of the Confederate army at the end of the Civil War.

Democrats most recently attempted to strip the song of its "official" status in 2018 with a bill that would have downgraded it to the title of "historical state song," but it never passed the state House of Delegates after passing the state Senate.