Virginia remains the only state without an offical song
The song, most argued, is about folks leaving Virginia, crossing the "wide Missouri" to escape difficult economic times.
Sen. Charles J. Colgan Sr. brought in a choir from the Shenandoah Valley to make his case for the tune, which was changed to be more Virginia-centric. Mr. Colgan's proposal re-tooled the lyrics to "Shenandoah," deleting some of the lines about fleeing the state.
"Oh Shenandoah, we long to hear you. Away, we're bound away, cross our fair Virginia," sang the group, known as the Shenandoah Singers.
State songs have long stirred emotions, especially in the South.
While some Southerners proudly hum more modern state songs -- think the Peach State's Ray Charles-blessed "Georgia on My Mind " -- legislatures in Florida and Maryland have been wrangling over potentially politically incorrect lyrics for years.
In Florida, lawmakers fought over "Way Down Upon the Swanee River," which refers to "darkies" and plantations.
In 2002, Maryland lawmakers fought over their state song, which refers to Union troops as "scum" and calls President Abraham Lincoln a "despot," calling it too "divisive." The tune, "Maryland! My Maryland!" was written during the Civil War by a man who was angry that his roommate was killed by Union troops.
Both tunes remain in place.
Coming up with a new song has a sordid history in Virginia. The panel that was tasked with choosing a song that could be sung at football games and gubernatorial inaugurations hasn't met for eight years. It did narrow the field of singable submissions from 340 to eight, including a ditty by sausage magnate Jimmy Dean, but no one could agree on their favorite.
Only two delegates voted in favor of the song, which would have been the first official state tune since lawmakers retired "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" in 1997 because they felt it was racist.
"Carry Me Back to Old Virginny" was written by James A. Bland, a free black who later became a minstrel. The song, written during the 1800s, includes lyrics about a "darkie" who "labored so hard for old massa."
comments powered by Disqus
- ‘Bite-sized’ history textbooks used in the UK accused of ‘dumbing down’ the subject: should we be worried?
- Tut’s beard glued back on like a bad craft project
- Smithsonian working to finalize deal for new site in London
- The voices of Auschwitz
- What countries teach children about the Holocaust varies hugely
- From his perch in Saudi Arabia, Princeton’s Mark Cohen says Jews and Muslims should remember they used to get along
- Duke honors historian John Hope Franklin with year-long series of events
- What New Left History Gave Us
- Marcus Borg, Liberal Christian Scholar, Dies at 72
- Richard Hofstadter’s insights into the "paranoid style in American politics” lauded in the NYT