Churchill Downs Restraint will continue its tradition of playing “My Old Kentucky Home” at the start of the Kentucky Darby, despite criticism of the song about American slavery.
“But the performance of the tune, which is also the state anthem of Kentucky, will be different on Saturday than in previous years,” said Churchill Downs.
“Normally, the moment involves singing with the fans. This year, it will be important just before a moment of silence and reflection,” said Tonya Ablan, vice president of communications for the Churchill Dance Foundation. Told NBC News in an email.
With 15 million television viewers each year, one of the most watched games in the United States, the Kentucky Derby arrives without a fan base on Saturday because it was postponed in March after being postponed in March. Coronavirus ubiquitous epidemic. (NBC broadcasts Derby every year.)
The song will be played by Bugler Steve Buttleman, instead of the ordinary University of Louisville marching band.
Such as a race track Tweeted on Friday“The 100-year-old tradition of singing Kentucky’s state anthem has been thoughtfully and appropriately modified, and before that there will be a moment of silence and reflection.”
“My Old Kentucky Home” was written in the 1850s by Stephen Foster, a musician from Pennsylvania.
Its true lyrics tell the story of a slave man from Kentucky being sold under the river for alleged labor. “The fields where the sugar cane growsSubsequent versions tell the same story in the third person.
Accordingly Smithsonian MagazineAs Foster wrote, the song “is actually the lament of a slave man who has been forcibly separated from his family and loved ones by his painful longing to return to the cabin with his wife and children.”
Historian Emily Bingham says, “It paints a beautiful, peaceful, positive picture of slavery in Kentucky. Told NBC-related Wave In Louisville. “But then it brings this guy, who sings all about Kentucky, into an environment where they’re going to meet before he dies, never to be reunited with his family.”
Later generations came to associate the song with the planting culture and the Blackface Mint show, Bingham said.
As its anti-slavery meaning became less pronounced over the years, criticism of its performance grew, Smithsonian magazine reported.
The second line of the song, which contained a racial slur that was repeated several times, was replaced in 1980 by Carl Hynes, the first African-American legislator to serve in the 43rd House District of Louisville. The word “people” will be changed.
Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R.K., told reporters Friday that he had called the president of Churchill Downs and recommended that he play “My Old Kentucky Home.” “
“It’s a song that goes back to the pre-Civil War era. It had some language that I think could be considered racially sensitive. It was abandoned 30 or 40 years ago.” McConnell said. “It’s very much part of our culture and tradition and should be played at the Kentucky Derby.”
Louisville poet and activist Hannah Drake asked Churchill Da Down Nuz about the song. In an open letter this week.
“Why is it my old Kentucky house that a slave’s song being sold in the South is still sung at the Kentucky Derby?” Brona Taylor “And the people of this city who fight for justice deserve more than this iconic institution,” he wrote, quoting a 26-year-old black emergency room technician who was killed by Louisville police on March 13 at his home.
Thousands of protesters Taylor is expected to gather near the Kentucky Derby on Saturday to demand justice, transforming the traditional crowd of dapper dandies and women rats into hardcore hats. Who will be absent from the stand Due to the epidemic
Chloe Atkins Contributed.