Maryland’s state song, which alludes to President Abraham Lincoln as a “tyrant” and a “despot,” has been repealed.
Republican Gov. Larry Hogan signed a bill into law on Tuesday that strips “Maryland, My Maryland” of its official state anthem status. It was among a handful of other bills signed into law by the governor.
“And we’re also repealing the state song, which is a relic of the Confederacy that is clearly outdated and out of touch,” said Hogan before the signing.
The state Senate passed the bill to repeal the song by a unanimous vote in March.
Finally... a unanimous Senate vote to repeal Maryland's #Confederate-themed #StateSong! Legislative efforts date back to 1974, including by my Senate predecessor. Lyrics calling Abe Lincoln a tyrant and a despot will soon be deleted from our law books. #ItsTime #MDGA21 pic.twitter.com/38yiKjA1LU
— Cheryl C. Kagan (@CherylKagan) March 20, 2021
Along with its not-so-kind words for Lincoln, the Confederate-themed song refers to the Union as “northern scum” and calls for Maryland to join Virginia in seceding.
NPR reports that the song is based on a poem written in 1861 and was inspired by the Prat Street Riot of April 19 of that year. It quickly became an anthem of the Confederacy.
According to NRP, the state adopted the tune as its official song in 1939. And for decades after, there have been numerous attempts to repeal it.
The effort to repeal it regained traction last year as calls for racial justice and equality were amplified following the police-involved deaths of Black men and women, like George Floyd.
The state hasn’t designated a song to replace the tune yet, but the law calls on the Maryland State Arts Council to devise a state song competition, CBS News reports.