The Philadelphia Flyers Take Down Kate Smith Statue Over Racist Song

Last week NHL team Philadelphia Flyers made an announcement that they would stop playing Kate Smith’s rendition of the song “God Bless America” at games and they removed her statue because of her racist songs “That’s Why Darkies Were Born” and “Pickaninny Heaven”

Kate Smith was one of America’s biggest singers in the early to mid 20th century. She was well known for her rendition of “God Bless America” which the New York Yankees also play but have recently axed after it was discovered Smith recorded racists songs.

The Yankees released a statement saying, “The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information. The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

The Philadelphia Flyers spokesperson said in a statement, “We have recently become aware that several songs performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization. As we continue to look into this serious matter, we are removing Kate Smith’s recording of ‘God Bless America’ from our library and covering up the statue that stands outside of our arena.”

“That’s Why Darkies Were Born” lyrics – Someone had to pick the cotton / Someone had to plant the corn / Someone had to slave and be able to sing / That’s why darkies were born. 

That song was recorded in 1931 at a time where racism and Jim Crow laws were in place in the south.

Her other song “Pickaninny Heaven” was recorded in 1933 lyrics

Little pickaninnies listen to the tale of a place that I know
It’s twice as high as the moon
You get there in a balloon

Haven’t you been told of the place where the good little pickaninnies go?
I’ve just been there so I ought to know
Great big watermelons roll around and get in your way
In the pickaninny heaven

Luscious pork chop bushes growin’ right outside your doorway
In the pickaninnies’ heaven
I’ve heart that they’ve even got a Swannee River made of real lemonade
And though the good lord took your mammy
She’ll be waiting for you In the pickaninny heaven
Heaven
Heaven

They eat the windows and doors
They eat the ceilings and floors
Every kind of pet from a big teddy bear to a little Mickey Mouse
And old Black Joe is their Santa Claus

I’ve heart that they’ve even got a Swannee River made of real lemonade
And though the good lord took your mammy
She’ll be waiting for you In the pickaninny heaven
Heaven
Heaven

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Source: NPR