News & Politics

Maryland’s Racist, Pro-Confederate State Song Has Been Repealed

People have been trying to get rid of the song since 1974.

Governor Larry Hogan will sign a bill on Tuesday that will repeal “Maryland, My Maryland” as the state song. The Maryland General Assembly passed the state song repeal this year after more than 10 attempts since 1974.

The song was composed during the Civil War by pro-Confederate poet and journalist James Ryder Randall, and was made the state song in 1939, during the Jim Crow era. Written in response to the Baltimore riot of 1861, when Confederate sympathizers attacked a northern militia that was on its way to defend Washington, “Maryland, My Maryland” refers to President Abraham Lincoln as tyrant, despot, and vandal.

Due to the racist nature of the song, a Maryland State Archives advisory panel suggested in 2015 that the Maryland state song should be “inclusive of all Marylanders.”

While there’s been no decision yet on what the new Maryland song should be, Rep. Jamie Raskin (D-Md.) introduced a new state song at last year’s Democratic National Convention that paid homage to notable Marylanders, such as late representative Elijah Cummings and Harriet Tubman.

Damare Baker
Research Editor

Before becoming Research Editor, Damare Baker was an Editorial Fellow and Assistant Editor for Washingtonian. She has previously written for Voice of America and The Hill. She is a graduate of Georgetown University, where she studied international relations, Korean, and journalism.