Despite pushback from the Left, the state song of Kentucky will be played before tomorrow’s Kentucky Derby at Churchill Downs.
“My Old Kentucky Home,” written by Stephen Foster, is reported to have been first played at the race in 1921, and has been played at Churchill Downs every year since.
The beloved song has come under fire as of late. According to Newsweek, “while some people consider the song to be a powerful condemnation of slavery,” others have a problem with “its original title and lyrics, and the contexts in which it has been performed, including at minstrel shows.”
Smithsonian Magazine described the song as “a condemnation of Kentucky’s enslavers who sold husbands away from their wives and mothers away from their children,” and as “the lament of an enslaved person who has been forcibly separated from his family and his painful longing to return to the cabin with his wife and children.”
Louisville-born historian Emily Bingham told WPFL ahead of last year’s Kentucky Derby that the song was “written by a white man about a black person being sold down river from Kentucky to the deep south to be sung by white men pretending to be black men on stages for white audiences.”
Last year’s Kentucky Derby, held on Labor Day Weekend due to the COVID-19 pandemic, used a modified version of the song, performed by a bugler without lyrics, and preceded by a moment of silence. The change to the presentation of the song was due to the social justice protests taking place at the time surrounding the death of Breonna Taylor.
WLKY first reported that the song will be played as usual this year. However, Churchill Downs reportedly did not indicate whether, this year, any changes to the rendition would be made.
Pastor Timothy Findley of the Kingdom Life Center has called on Churchill Downs to make changes to the song.
“If we’re going to do the right thing, if we’re going to do the thing that moves our community forward, moves our city forward, and shows that we have sensitivity to what has happened in the past and a mind to move forward in the future, the song needs to be removed,” Findley told WLKY on Thursday. “I don’t even understand why this is such a difficult thing.”
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This is not the first time the Left has sought to make changes to sports and the traditions surrounding them.
In 2017, the NBA moved its All-Star game out of Charlotte after North Carolina passed the “bathroom bill.”
The NFL, after many years of attempting to get the Washington Redskins to change their name, finally succeeded in 2020 and owner Dan Snyder made the decision to rename the franchise the “Washington Football Team.”
Just this month, Major League Baseball bowed down to the woke Left and moved their 2021 All-Star game and 2021 MLB Draft out of Atlanta after a backlash to Georgia’s election integrity laws — a move applauded by many on the Left.
Congratulations to @MLB for taking a stand on behalf of voting rights for all citizens. There’s no better way for America’s pastime to honor the great Hank Aaron, who always led by example.
— Barack Obama (@BarackObama) April 3, 2021
Even the 2021 Masters tournament at Augusta National was under siege. After President Biden called the Georgia bill “Jim Crow on steroids,” calls for the tournament to be moved from Georgia grew.
“The PGA Tour and Masters Tournament have both made commitments to help diversify golf and address racial inequities in this country,” NBJC executive director David J. Johns told Golfweek. “And we expect them to not only speak out against Georgia’s new racist voter suppression law, but to also take action”.
Fortunately, The Masters held strong, and the Kentucky Derby seems to be standing up to cancel culture as well.
Joe Morgan is the Sports Reporter for The Daily Wire. Most recently, Morgan covered the Clippers, Lakers and the NBA for Sporting News.
The views expressed in this piece are the author’s own and do not necessarily represent those of The Daily Wire.