ANNAPOLIS, Md. (AP) - Maryland lawmakers are thinking maybe it's
time to find a way to scrub "Northern scum" - and a few other
sensitive pre-Civil War phrases - from the official state song.
"Maryland, My Maryland," set to the traditional seasonal tune
of "O, Tannenbaum," was written in 1861 and adopted as the state
song in 1939. But now some lawmakers are pushing for a change to
the warlike language in what was originally a poem that doubled as
a call to arms.
Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller wants a new commission to
examine the song and consider changing some stanzas to reflect the
state's diversity and remove offensive phrases.
"I love history, but there comes a time when you have to
adjust," Miller, a Democrat, told senators Tuesday.
A Maryland House of Delegates committee voted down a bill to
change the song because members were reluctant to tinker with
That bill - and another still making its way through the Senate
- would have replaced the words written by James Ryder Randall in
1861 with ones penned by John T. White in 1894 describing the
state's natural beauty.
Randall's poem calls for Maryland to secede from the Union - at
a time before the Civil War when Maryland residents sympathized
with the Confederacy.
The song begins with a hostile reference to President Abraham
Lincoln, who brought troops through Baltimore en route to protect
Washington: "The despot's heel is on thy shore, Maryland! His
torch is at thy temple door, Maryland!"
It ends with a call for the state to stand up to the Union:
"She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb - Huzza! She spurns the
Northern scum! She breaths! She burns! She'll come! Maryland! My