Kate Smith is an American icon. Her rendition of “God Bless America” made people’s chests swell with pride in our country. She frequently performed the song at the start of the Philadelphia Flyers home games and after her death in 1986 a recording of her singing the song was played in her stead. The Flyers even erected a statue of her outside the stadium where they play.
Kate’s rendition of the song was also played at many sporting events. The New York Yankees played it during the 7th inning stretch of their home games. (Kate is pictured above with baseball legend Babe Ruth.)
But all that is no more because some lowdown asshole complained that Kate Smith had performed two songs back in the 1930s which contained lyrics that are now considered racist. The Flyers and the Yankees will no longer play her recording of “God Bless America” and the Flyers have removed her statue from its site.
The two songs were “Pickaninny Heaven” and “That’s Why Darkies Were Born.” She sang Pickaninny Heaven in the 1933 movie “Hello Everybody” which featured black children in an orphanage. She recorded Why Darkies Were Born in 1931.
The lyrics in Pickaninny Heaven that are now considered racist were “Great big watermelons” and “pork chops right outside your door,” with a “Suwanee River made of real lemonade,” in the heaven that’s made just for “pickaninnies.”
Here are the lyrics of Why Darkies Were Born:
“Someone had to pick the cotton,
Someone had to pick the corn,
Someone had to slave and be able to sing,
That’s why darkies were born;
Someone had to laugh at trouble,
Though he was tired and worn,
Had to be contented with any old thing,
That’s why darkies were born;
Sing, sing, sing when you’re weary and
Sing when you’re blue,
Sing, sing, that’s what you taught
All the white folks to do;
Someone had to fight the Devil,
Shout about Gabriel’s Horn,
Someone had to stoke the train
That would bring God’s children to green pastures,
That’s why darkies were born.”
That makes Kate Smith a racist? Come on, give us a break!
Kate’s niece Suzy Andron told USA Today she was “saddened that a woman who has been dead for almost 35 years would be attacked in this way. Aunt Kathryn really did not see color. She didn’t see a person’s color. She was very in tune with a person’s character. I’ve always thought that was a model, to not see a person’s color but to see their character. And this is why I’m incredibly sad,”
Those that are now vilifying Kate Smith for songs she sang back in the 1930s without any evidence that she was a racist ought to be ashamed of themselves and so should the Flyers and the Yankees.
What in the world is this country coming to when we vilify an American icon 35 years after her death for two songs she sang over 80 years ago. That’s how political correctness treats an American patriot who helped sell over $600 million in war bonds during WW2. This should make all loyal Americans sick.
In awarding Kate the Presidential Medal of Freedom, President Ronald Reagan said that Smith’s singing of ‘God Bless America’ is a “reminder of the beauty, the courage and the heart of this great land of ours. In giving us a magnificent, selfless talent like Kate Smith, God has truly blessed America.”