The California chapter of the NAACP is pushing to get rid of The Star-Spangled Banner as the national anthem.
“This song is wrong; it shouldn’t have been there, we didn’t have it ’til 1931, so it won’t kill us if it goes away,” said NAACP California chapter president Alice Huffman to CBS13 Sacramento.
The NAACP wants to urge Congress to eliminate the national anthem, which they describe to be “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon.” The NAACP held a state conference in October in which they came up with the resolution to present to Congress.
Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began protesting against police brutality by taking a knee during the playing of the Star-Spangled Banner before games.
“We owe a lot of it to Kaepernick,” California NAACP President Alice Huffman told the Sacramento Bee. She adds, “I think all this controversy about the knee will go away once the song is removed.” The NAACP wants to find a way to get Kaepernick back in the NFL.
It was the protests by Kaepernick and other players around the NFL that caused the NAACP to examine the lyrics of “The Star-Spangled Banner” to uncover lyrics used in a rarely-sung third verse of the original song, particularly a line that says, “No refuge could save the hireling and slave/From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”
There are opposing views about the meaning of the lyrics from the original version of “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
Some argue the line in the original version celebrates the deaths of black slaves in the U.S. who fought alongside the British during the War of 1812 to gain their freedom, while others say the writer of the song, Francis Scott Key, was slave owner was considered an anti-abolitionist.
The California NAACP is currently seeking legislative backing to help remove “The Star Spangled Banner.”