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, has been played before every race since 1921.
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…”