Skip navigation


The National anthem-Star Spangled Banner has been controversial for the Third (3rd) verse shown below:

“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 washed out their foul footsteps’ 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!”

The highlighted area are  the lines in question. There can be multiple interpretations however with this historical note: many African and white Americans and were on the British side because of promised freedom for their assistance. The highlighted lines speak to that particular issue. The misrepresented statements by Colin Kaepernick do not tell the entire story, his statement on the this particular verse was taken with no context and therefore misunderstood by many whose biases allow them to accept  to accept errors when Ethnicity and race are involved. It is a fact that the writer of the poem :Francis Scott Key was a slave owner and anti abolitionist as indicated by this excerpt from his Wikipedia biography:

Slavery and American Colonization Society
Key purchased his first slave in 1800 or 1801 and owned six slaves in 1820.[15] Mostly in the 1830s, Key manumitted (set free) seven slaves, one of whom (Clem Johnson) continued to work for him for wages as his farm’s foreman, supervising several slaves.
Throughout his career Key also represented several slaves seeking their freedom in court (for free), as well as several masters seeking return of their runaway slaves. Key, Judge William Leigh of Halifax, and bishop William Meade were administrators of the will of their friend John Randolph of Roanoke, who died without children and left a will directing his executors to free his more than four hundred slaves. Over the next decade, beginning in 1833, the administrators fought to enforce the will and provide the freed slaves land to support themselves.
Key publicly criticized slavery’s cruelties, so much that after his death a newspaper editorial stated “So actively hostile was he to the peculiar institution that he was called ‘The Nigger Lawyer’ …. because he often volunteered to defend the downtrodden sons and daughters of Africa. Mr. Key convinced me that slavery was wrong—radically wrong.” In June 1842, Key attended the funeral of William Costin, a free, mixed race resident who had challenged Washington’s surety bond laws.
Key was a founding member and active leader of the American Colonization Society and its predecessor, the influential Maryland branch, the primary goal of which was to send free African-Americans back to Africa. However, he was removed from the board in 1833 as its policies shifted toward abolitionist.
Anti-abolitionist
Key used his position as U.S. Attorney to suppress abolitionists. In 1833, he secured a grand jury indictment against Benjamin Lundy, editor of the anti-slavery publication, the Genius of Universal Emancipation, and his printer, William Greer, for libel after Lundy published an article that declared, “There is neither mercy nor justice for colored people in this district [of Columbia]”. Lundy’s article, Key said in the indictment, “was intended to injure, oppress, aggrieve, and vilify the good name, fame, credit & reputation of the Magistrates and constables” of Washington. Lundy left town rather than face trial; Greer was acquitted.
In August 1836, Key agreed to prosecute botanist and doctor Reuben Crandall, brother of controversial Connecticut school teacher Prudence Crandall, who had recently moved to the national capital. Key secured an indictment for “seditious libel” after two marshals (who operated as slave catchers in their off hours) found Crandall had a trunk full of anti-slavery publications in his Georgetown residence, five days after the Snow Riot, caused by rumors that a mentally ill slave had attempted to kill an elderly white woman. In an April 1837 trial that attracted nationwide attention, Key charged that Crandall’s actions instigated slaves to rebel. Crandall’s attorneys acknowledged he opposed slavery, but denied any intent or actions to encourage rebellion. Key, in his final address to the jury said:
“Are you willing, gentlemen, to abandon your country, to permit it to be taken from you, and occupied by the abolitionist, according to whose taste it is to associate and amalgamate with the negro? Or, gentlemen, on the other hand, are there laws in this community to defend you from the immediate abolitionist, who would open upon you the floodgates of such extensive wickedness and mischief?”
A jury acquitted Crandall.
This defeat, as well as family tragedies in 1835, diminished Key’s political ambition. He resigned as district attorney in 1840. He remained a staunch proponent of African colonization and a strong critic of the antislavery movement until his death.”

It is well to remember that all facts can be understood under the cloud of ones own biases and understanding (or misunderstanding) but facts remain facts no matter what covering they may have.

Please Donate

 

 

Advertisements

One Comment

  1. To me, the Star Spangled Banner is controversial, because many people care more about it than they care about life and liberty.

    Like


Comments are closed.

%d bloggers like this: