Is Kaepernick Right?

Jon Schwarz at The Intercept published this response to the Kaepernick controversy. While I had read the unsung stanzas of our National Anthem before, I had not understood the context of the verses about the death of runaway slaves. And it’s an eye-opener. Read it for yourself. It’s important that we understand the back story of our national icons and symbols. (Personally, I’ve always thought “America, the Beautiful” would have been a better choice.)

Update:  The Intercept has published a follow up to this article giving more evidence of the racist underpinnings of our National Anthem. A fascinating read.




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2 responses to “Is Kaepernick Right?

  1. I had never heard of this verse before; I had only heard the first and last verse. This is interesting history, but rather than changing the national anthem, a simpler solution would be to just dump the second and third verse that most people have never heard of anyway. I have no objection to Kaepernick sitting during the national anthem; I sympathize with his point. However, I still get a little choked up when I sing it at an event, as it reminds me of the ideals of this country, even if our country often does not act like the land of the free or the home of the brave.

  2. Hi Ray. Hope you are well. I understand your point. But I have to think how I would feel as an African-American singing a song with this kind of provenance, written by a slaveholder and (Key was a lawyer) a defender of slaveholders. (Although Key was also actively for repatriation of slaves, that still doesn’t make up for owning them). It’s not a straight shot, but maybe we could liken this question to the current dispute about Confederate statues. They are indeed part of our history, but we also have to be sensitive to the message they continue to convey as symbols; an insult to African-Americans. Blessings!

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