Calling it “racist,” “dreadful” and “disgraceful,” Marylanders are calling on the state’s General Assembly to repeal the official state song -- written by a pro-Confederate propagandist – and replace it with one co-written by a labor musician. “For more than 80 years, our beloved Maryland has had a dreadful state song written by a pro-Confederate propagandist,” says a petition started by Labor Heritage Foundation Executive Director Elise Bryant. “It refers to Abraham Lincoln as a ‘Tyrant’ and ‘Despot’ and denounces the Union forces—which included thousands of loyal patriotic Marylanders—as ‘Northern Scum.’” Musician Steve Jones – who’s written the music for two labor jazz operas -- and Maryland Congressman Jamie Raskin have collaborated to re-write the song, re-titled as “Maryland My Maryland: The Free State Song,” to “celebrate its natural history, its beauty, its geographic and cultural diversity, and its commitment to the struggle for freedom and justice for all, not secession and violence.” The Maryland General Assembly has refused for decades to repeal the song’s official designation, claiming they have nothing to replace it with. “Now we do,” says the petition.
DC LABORFest 2021