Maryland Senate OKs Cutting ‘Northern Scum’ From State Song

Maryland State Senate
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Maryland lawmakers voted 37-8 Thursday to remove references to “Northern scum” and the Confederacy from the official state song, according to the Associated Press.

Maryland, My Maryland” will remain the state’s historic anthem but be stripped of controversial lyrics, the AP reported.

The song, written by former Confederate Navy man James Ryder Randall, is a battle cry that calls for the people of the state to rise up against the forces of “despot” President Abraham Lincoln and secede from the Union.

“Dear Mother!” the lyrics read. “Burst the tyrant’s chain.”

Maryland was a slave state that was deeply divided during the Civil War, but ultimately decided against secession.

“Maryland, Oh Maryland,” which is sung to the tune of “O Tannenbaum,” wasn’t adopted as the state song until 1939, although it was penned in 1861. The AP reports it is unclear why the song was adopted at that particular historical moment but notes there had been two recent lynchings in the state and the NAACP was then advocating for equal pay for black teachers.

“By enshrining a Confederate war anthem, the General Assembly may have been seeking symbolically to challenge such efforts,” according to the AP.

State Senate President Thomas V. Mike Miller (D) applauded the changes in an interview with the news service.

“This bill is an excellent compromise to move forward, so that our children and our children’s children and so that all Maryland can be proud of our state song,” he said.

Other senators were less enthused. Sen. Robert Cassilly (R) told the AP that the lyric edits were a rebuke to the state’s history.

“Our song doesn’t belong to the Confederacy. It belongs to us,” said Sen. Robert Cassilly (R), who voted against the changes.

“The idea that we’re trying to excise our history is just, I don’t think that’s America,” Cassilly continued. “That’s not what we’re about.”

Maryland has made other recent efforts to break from Confederate history, ruling last October to phase out the sale of license plates featuring Confederate battle flags.

Read the full lyrics for “Maryland, My Maryland,” courtesy of the state government’s website:

The despot’s heel is on thy shore,
His torch is at thy temple door,
Avenge the patriotic gore
That flecked the streets of Baltimore,
And be the battle queen of yore,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Hark to an exiled son’s appeal,
My mother State! to thee I kneel,
For life and death, for woe and weal,
Thy peerless chivalry reveal,
And gird thy beauteous limbs with steel,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not cower in the dust,
Thy beaming sword shall never rust,
Remember Carroll’s sacred trust,
Remember Howard’s warlike thrust,-
And all thy slumberers with the just,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Come! ’tis the red dawn of the day,
Come with thy panoplied array,
With Ringgold’s spirit for the fray,
With Watson’s blood at Monterey,
With fearless Lowe and dashing May,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Come! for thy shield is bright and strong,
Come! for thy dalliance does thee wrong,
Come to thine own anointed throng,
Stalking with Liberty along,
And chaunt thy dauntless slogan song,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Dear Mother! burst the tyrant’s chain,
Virginia should not call in vain,
She meets her sisters on the plain-
“Sic semper!” ’tis the proud refrain
That baffles minions back again,
Arise in majesty again,
Maryland! My Maryland!

I see the blush upon thy cheek,
For thou wast ever bravely meek,
But lo! there surges forth a shriek,
From hill to hill, from creek to creek-
Potomac calls to Chesapeake,
Maryland! My Maryland!

Thou wilt not yield the Vandal toll,
Thou wilt not crook to his control,
Better the fire upon thee roll, Better the blade, the shot, the bowl,
Than crucifixion of the soul,
Maryland! My Maryland!

I hear the distant thunder-hum,
The Old Line’s bugle, fife, and drum,
She is not dead, nor deaf, nor dumb-
Huzza! she spurns the Northern scum!
She breathes! she burns! she’ll come! she’ll come!
Maryland! My Maryland!

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