A bill that received preliminary approval in the state Senate would designate "Maryland, My Maryland" as the "historic" state song.
Maryland politicians are yet again singing different tunes about the official state song, “Maryland, My Maryland.”
And their competing refrains – for and against the song – have become as redundant as a pop station playlist.
Debate about the official state song and its ties to the Confederacy repeatedly emerges as an issue in the Maryland General Assembly. And this year is no different. A pending proposal would strip “Maryland, My Maryland” of its “official” status and replace it with the designation of “historical.” Efforts to change the lyrics (the current song refers to Unionists as “Northern scum” and call Abraham Lincoln a despot) or seek new ones in a competition were both defeated.
Here’s a “best of” compilation of the debate over the past few years, as broadcast, er, reported by The Baltimore Sun:
» In August 2017, the University of Maryland marching banddecided to stop playing “Maryland, My Maryland”before football games. The move came after the deadly white supremacist rally in Charlottesville, Va. Earlier that year, the performance of the song at the Preakness horse race only included the third verse, which includes no Confederate battle cry lyrics.
» The General Assembly also took up the state song issue in 2016. State senators voted to keep the third verse of the song and add words from a 1894 poem by Western Maryland teacher James T. White. The bill died in the House of Delegates. Another bill that would’ve established a contest for a new state song also died.
» It’s not just the state song — Maryland’s flag has also beenthe subject of some debate. The flag combines the black-and-gold pattern of the Calvert family and the red-and-white pattern of the Crossland family. The red-and-white Crossland arms was used by some Pro-Confederate Marylanders as a sign of resistance to the Union. Gov. Larry Hogan emphasized in August that there were no plans to change the state flag.