Respect self, not National Anthem

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Respect self, not National Anthem

By Kevin Palmer

      Black lives did not matter to the author of America’s national anthem. Accordingly, when it comes to national anthem protocol, Black self-respect takes precedence over respecting a disrespectful national anthem.

According to, “In 1814, the poet and lyricist Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics to “The Star-Spangled Banner.” Then, in 1916, President Woodrow Wilson signed an executive order designating “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem. Afterwards, in 1931, the U.S. Congress confirmed the decision.” The problem is Francis Scott Key was a known racist and slave owner. Nevertheless, despite his inhumane treatment of Black people, he is esteemed as a great historical figure.

Therefore, it is no surprise America’s national anthem reflects the sentiments of white supremacy. First, “The Star-Spangled Banner” consists of four stanzas. The last line of each stanza says, “O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.” Obviously, this verse is an insult to Black people. In 1814, when Francis Scott Key penned the lyrics, millions of enslaved Africans existed in America. Second, the anthem’s third stanza contains verses which show Key’s utter contempt for the enslaved African. The verses state, Their blood has washed out their foul footstep’s pollution; No refuge could save the hireling and slave; From the terror of flight or gloom of the grave; And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave; O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave. Without a doubt, Francis Scott Key meant for the star-spangled American flag to be a symbol of terror and death to any slave who dared to escape.

Thus, the bible says in John 8:32, “And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Indeed, for African-Americans, knowing the truth means having the freedom and courage to not show respect for an anthem which upholds white supremacy.


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    Carma Lynn Henry Westside Gazette Newspaper 545 N.W. 7th Terrace, Fort Lauderdale, Florida 33311 Office: (954) 525-1489 Fax: (954) 525-1861

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