Both houses of the Maryland state legislature recently voted to change Maryland’s state song.
The current state song “Maryland, My Maryland,” was written by Confederate sympathizer James Ryder Randall in 1861 in response to the news of Union troops marching through Baltimore. Maryland adopted the tune as the state song in 1939. Maryland Speaker Pro Tempore Sheree Sample-Hughes described the implications of the lyrics during a debate on the issue last week. “The state song pleads for Maryland to answer the Confederacy call to war, to spurn the ‘Northern scum,’ and it calls President Lincoln a tyrant for abolishing slavery. This has stained the pages of our laws for too long, and it’s unacceptable,” Sample- Hughes said.
The measure to repeal the song passed the state Senate 45- 0, and it passed in the House 95- 38. The same measure had failed to pass multiple times in the past. Supporters believe that the recent spotlight on issues of racism and the aftermath of the Capitol riot on January 6 helped the legislation pass this time. The legislations now needs to be signed by Governor Larry Hogan. Hogan has not officially received the legislation yet, so his spokesperson declined to answer whether he would sign it. However, the governor has said that he does not like the song.
Lawmakers have not proposed a replacement for the song.