By Kathy Knotts
“Maryland, My Maryland,” which has been the state song since 1939, has had its swan song. The General Assembly has passed legislation to remove it from the state’s repertoire as a regional anthem. Lawmakers have been working to replace or remove the song since the 1970s due to its praise of the Confederacy, divisive language and criticism of President Abraham Lincoln.
Set to the tune of “O’ Tannebaum,” the lyrics come from a Civil War-era poem penned by Baltimore author James Ryder Randall in 1861 written in response to the Baltimore riot that year. The lyrics refer to “Northern scum”, urge Marylanders to fight for the Confederacy and call President Lincoln a despot and tyrant.
Del. Sheree Sample-Hughes’ (D-Dorchester and Wicomico counties) House Bill 667 and Senate Bill 8 sponsored by Montgomery County Sen. Cheryl Kagan (D) passed through both chambers and are now on Governor Hogan’s desk. The legislation strikes the song from the state list with no replacement. At press time, Hogan had not yet signed the bill.