After Tubman, how about fixing 'Maryland, My Maryland' state song?

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Harriet Tubman, an American born in slavery, escaped 1849, and became leading abolitionist and "conductor" in the Underground Railroad.

I applaud Gov. Larry Hogan's new found stamina in the fight to honor Maryland and American hero Harriet Tubman by putting her image on the $20 bill, and I agree with the idea that putting her statue in the U.S. Capitol's Statuary Hall (“Hogan wants Tubman on $20 bill. Here's what he can do right now," June 12) would go a long way toward rectifying an historical imbalance, although neither of those wars are going to be won very easily or quickly. But there is a battle in Maryland that could see success overnight if Governor Hogan would only join the fray — the campaign to either revise or replace our pro-Confederate state song, "Maryland, My Maryland.”

This is a crusade that has never been able to enlist Mr. Hogan. There were bills introduced in the Maryland General Assembly last year that would have revised the third stanza of our current state song to include a line that honored Harriet Tubman. Both bills died in committee. The governor has offered only tepid support for changing the state anthem at all. He considers the whole effort a waste of time. Perhaps now he could redirect some of his enthusiasm for Harriet Tubman by honoring her in our state song, if only temporarily. He could issue a proclamation that until the state legislature revises or replaces our hateful state song permanently, the version of the song contained in these earlier bills would be an acceptable alternative whenever the song is sung (at the Preakness Stakes, for example).


While this alternative version of "Maryland, My Maryland" may not satisfy everyone, it would be a very significant step in the right direction on a road we should have traveled long ago. Here are the proposed lyrics: “Thou wilt not cower in the dust, Maryland, my Maryland! Thy beaming sword shall never rust, Maryland, my Maryland! Remember Carroll’s sacred trust, May Tubman's name remain august, And all thy slumberers with the just, Maryland, my Maryland!”

Sean Tully, Baltimore