Maryland flag

Delegate Karen Lewis Young submitted legislation this week to change the words of Maryland’s state song after several of her constituents sent her emails about the song’s “inappropriateness.”

Young, D-District 3A, said after looking at the words to “Maryland, My Maryland,” it was clear the song celebrates the Confederacy and disparages the Union government.

“The Civil War was the most divisive period in America's history,” Young said Thursday. “I don’t think our state song should be based on a battle hymn that celebrates that.”

It isn’t the first time someone has tried to change the lyrics to the song. Young said through her research, she found there have been about six attempts.

“I'm surprised that past efforts were unsuccessful,” she said, “but I think that recently, as our consciousness has been raised once again, it warrants [looking again] at this song.”

James Ryder Randall wrote Maryland’s state song while in Louisiana after Union troops marched through Baltimore, according to an unsuccessful bill drafted in 2009. The song showed Randall’s Confederate sympathies, the bill said. Maryland didn't adopt it as the state song until 1939.

Young proposed that the song be substituted with a poem by the same title written in 1894 by John T. White, a Frederick County native.

“His poem celebrates the beauty of Maryland. The beautiful shores, the majestic mountains,” Young said. “It is in no way controversial, and I think we want to have a song that endures over time and something that just celebrates the state beauty, is unifying and enduring, and not controversial and divisive.”

Guy Djoken, president of the NAACP's Frederick County chapter, said it’s rewarding that people are realizing this needs to be done. He said the words to the song make people feel “uncomfortable,” and he is in full support of the change.

Young said she already knows of people who agree the lyrics should be changed. She said if she places her argument in a historical context, people will likely see the bill as an appropriate action.

But not everyone is on board with Young’s proposal. She said some people may say this is another effort for political correctness that has gone too far or “claim that they don’t want to rewrite history.”

“I'm not asking anybody to rewrite history,” she said. “I'm just saying that we don’t base a state song in 2015 on a very combative, controversial event that happened in 1861.”

But State Sen. Michael Hough, R-District 4, said the song is just a part of history and changing it is not a big priority for next session.

He said no one has come to him about changing the lyrics and that there are more pressing topics on which to focus.

“Not only is it not a good use of our time to argue over, but it actually costs money,” he said. “I could probably name 100 issues more important than that.”

Follow Rebecca Savransky on Twitter: @beccasavransky 

(67) comments


In the years since the Civil War, "The Battle Hymn of the Republic" has been used frequently as an American patriotic song. This song is usually heard at the national conventions of both the Republican Party and Democratic Party, and is often sung at Presidential inaugurations. Why rewrite Maryland My Maryland, when we have a perfectly good one in "The Battle Hymn of the Republic".


I hate to agree with Hogh on anything, but do on this one. Karen needs to find something useful to do.


"Young, D-District 3A, said after looking at the words to “Maryland, My Maryland,” it was clear the song celebrates the Confederacy and disparages the Union government"

Hey Karen, there were Confederate re-enactors at the Monocacy Battlefield yesterday. Aren't you worried that they are celebrating the Confederacy? Or perhaps that some of your constituents might be offended by their presence?


Such things keep the liberal socialists in business pandering to their "victimized" constituent base.

If they don't have something to be offended about, they'll seek one out. But don't dare point out the absurdity of their views or oppose them or they'll go after you.


Change the song, whatever. The inquisition and the purge of our culture has begun. When do the arrests, Truth Commissions, and prison sentences begin? When will the Thought Police knock on your door?


It disparages Lincoln because of his actions:

"Although Lincoln hoped to nurture pro-Union sentiment in the state, he took no chances. He authorized the military to suspend the writ of habeas corpus along any military line in the state. It was thus in Maryland that Lincoln, feeling his way in dealing with this unprecedented crisis, first suspended the writ and authorized arrests without trial. Once Washington was secure, the army engaged in a massive display of force designed to overawe the civilian population by occupying Federal Hill in Baltimore. Before long, although the state government continued to function, Maryland was essentially under military occupation......The fall election of 1861 was conducted in an atmosphere of intimidation as federal troops arrested prominent secessionist members of the legislature, guarded the polls in a few areas on election day, and seized disloyal citizens who tried to vote."

Now, imagine a sitting President today taking such actions because he/she doesn't agree with the position a state is taking on, say, immigration, gun control, abortion, or gay marriage.

Don't try to whitewash history to make yourself feel better.


Let us not forget this song not only celebrates the confederacy, but disparages President Abraham Lincoln. It's time for a song that celebrates our wonderful state rather than one that insults one of our best presidents.


The song is hideous. Maryland is full of beauty. Our song should celebrate that.


This is a piece of "feel good" legislation to make Karen Young feel better and make it look like she is doing something.

If she wants to be productive, how about some legislation to empower local law enforcement to do something to help stem the invasion of illegal immigrants since it is now their heel that is on our shores.

I sort of enjoy the fact that our state song reminds us of the time when the President of the United States sent federal troops to occupy our statehouse to prevent our elected officials from voting on some legislation that the President did not agree with.

We shouldn't whitewash that part of our history.


The voters can do better than Ron Young, Karen Young, and Caroll Krimm in the next election???????




Then the Republicans need to put up some credible candidates, not likes of Hough.


“Not only is it not a good use of our time to argue over, but it actually costs money,” he said. “I could probably name 100 issues more important than that.”

I'd wager far more than 100.


Ditch it, Now!


I was offended by the person that cut me off in traffic this morning. Perhaps Delegate Young could introduce legislation to revoke the drivers license of that person because I, as her constituent, was offended. I'm sure that person has also offended others as well in the course of their everyday drive, so maybe I should start a petition.

Seriously, if this song, which most of you probably didn't know the words to 15 seconds before reading this article, is the most offensive and important thing in your life right now, then I pity you.


If we're not going to scrap it, we could add this verse:

Your politicians unemployed, Maryland my Maryland
thy taxpayers became annoyed, Maryland my Maryland
Paul Smith and Blaine, just left of Hough
and Brown was never black enough
was Hogan made of better stuff, Maryland my Maryland.


If it be know John T. White blood line has a " Lewis " in it.


I agree that our state govt. Has more pressing matters to deal with but after reading the lyrics of my state song I am struck by this thought. In 1939 as our nation struggled to recover from the greatest economic crisis in history and as the flames of war consumed Europe and Asia our state govt. Chose to embrace this song as our anthem. 'What were they thinking?" Read the lyrics this is truly an anti Anerican rant. I don't care if we have a state song or not but let!s drop this thing because it's an embarassment.


As a Northerner, with two great grandfathers and a great uncle fighting on the side of the North, I should be against this song, "Maryland, my Maryland", but I am not. I came to Maryland 50 years ago and first hear the song. At first, I didn't pay much attention to the words, just listened to the music, which is great. Then, I started to listen. It did offend me some, but this was my new state and I do love it's history and I consider the song history.

After giving it a lot of thought and reading earlier comments made on facebook, I have come to the conclusion I would rather have a new song written, leaving the old song and words as history. As we know, Frederick County was not sympathetic to the South, yet we have had this song for many years with no problems. Let's leave it alone now. The writer was a homesick Confederate soldier and it does make sense.


If policiticans don't have anything better to than this, maybe we need to get rid of some and cut the budget.


How about an imagine of Harriet Tubman? [smile]


What the hey, let's take the Maryland Flag down also since it has crosses on it. Let's replace the flag with a image of Cal Ripken


Maryland is such a beautiful state - we should have a song that reflects it.


And forget the DEAD who are buried here and anywhere else you care to look in this country and pretend WE have CHANGED and no longer need to be reminded that we are a warring species that lives off the same wording and blood that's being spilled on an everyday basis TODAY.

This knee jerk reaction to what is offensive and becoming the bandwagon of most politicians looking for an edge, leverage and market share of our emotions, in order to get a vote is at best criminal and speaks to the nature of man who is so easily distracted by what was and confusing that with what really is.

This political rampage to make us into milk toast and homogenized processing, over vague hurt feelings, daily volence that takes place anywhere you want to point your finger and of the few who have yet to be defined and as yet even identified.

We can pay lipservice to the good of Maryland, but what about the bad and ugly found in this State and so many other States waging WAR against something or someone on a daily basis.

Certainly a flag, nor a song "made me do it." So why can't WE take responsibility for today as yesterday and stop greasing the pole with yet more political correctness and false rhetoric.

If Baltimore's recent riots or our ADDICTIONS to substance abuse, and gun violence are any indication, WE have not. since 1939 or 1861, progessed beyond the lyrics of the Maryland State song and what it continues to stand for.

Those who can't and do not intend to step up but hide behind ANNONYMOUS, while WE repeat ourselves over and over again and finding one lame excuse after another to blame others, when they are just as guilty of doing nothing, and have as yet to move US beyond our own survival instincts and the DNA we dance to, that WE, not a song or a flag, are the most responsible for.

Simply said, the flag can be removed and the lyrics of a song reduced to a poem but WE'RE not that far away from what remains in the hearts of warriors and peace makers alike.

Delegate Karen Young is intentionally taking advantage of a National media blitz that is more about devisive politics, deceptive business practices and mob mentality that only lead US a block away from what will be found at the next corner of scripted CRISIS and all we get back in return is a POEM?

WE are going back to war, and every ounce of political correctness is not going to change that. We are creatures of habit and have remained so, for hundreds of thousands of years ago. We remain too easily distracted by pomp and circumstance and having our next conclusion being made for us and manipulated by someone else. Such is the nature of politics and a willingness to do just about anything to get voted back into office.

So, rather than jumping to conclusions based on some vague research Delegate Young has alledgedly done, after taking some calls from unidentified constituents, and a Frederick County NAACP affiliation that claims the song makes its unidentified members "UNCOMFORTABLE", why not look at the National stage and the fact WE can't use the N word but they can.

Isn't this hypocracy in full flower from both sides of a fence that REMAINS divided in context, and a subcontext that it's OK to riot in Baltimore, whether the perpetrators are ever found or not, WHO, for all we know, was designed and condoned by city governance.

Let's take this idea that caught fire in South Carolina and spread across our nation by media moguls who insist on raising the temperature while distorting history and inviting all the politicians they can find to spread the word, even down to it most micoscopic components.

Let's stop with the semantics and word play being afforded this issue and start thinking for ourselves.


So you want to stop talking about how bad majorities are treating minorities and start focusing on talking how bad the racist social economic system is treating minorities. [whistling]


oh dear lord... this will never end!

next up... the PC Progressive Nazi's will call for a re-enactment of Gen. Sherman going town to town in the south and burning them the ground like the Union did in the Civil War.

The white guilt has to be close to hitting rock bottom...


Insightful observation but this story is bigger than just GUILT. Talk to any NAACP member and you'll find WE are more GUILTY of doing nothing, from any side you care to explore. It's no longer about battles won and lost, but the WAR for MARKET SHARE and the calling card of LEVERAGE, that both sides or any side you care to mention have used for centuries to gain MORE than equal share and domination of the other.

White guilt is just another strategy to lull any other group into silence. It's a two way street and always has been. It's game of words and ideas that plays one side against the other. We're constantly using the failures of our Nation as anything more than a bargaining chip or the cost to ante up or the throw of dice in a crap shoot.

White today is nothing more than a shade of gray, and those most comfortable with RISK at OUR expense. The white, black, brown, yellow, red or Asian communities are constantly looking for leverage to become part of a prior existence they no longer want to participate in and in a world of dictators we have found within our own borders.

SO, what's changed since the days of Sherman or even Patton?


Where are these idiots coming from?? Children are starving, people are homeless and they are wasting time discussing a song?? I am sick of those offended!!! Go away!!

Glen Shiel



In 40 years if we are still here America will be a solidly minority majory nation and these racist references will be replaces anyways.


Whether you like or dislike the song... the lyrics are a historical body of work.

If Delegate Young wants to rewrite the words, then why not rewrite Shakespeare and Socrates? Why not change the eye color in the Mona Lisa?

If the majority of the legislative body consider the Maryland state song offensive .... then replace the song with another .... don't rewrite the words.

Glen Shiel

I say put it to a referendum and let the people decide.


I believe when they crucified Jesus the Romans also characterized the opposition as political correctness.


When we were allowed a CHOICE by the Roman dictator to decide between the life of Christ and another WE chose that of the thief in HIS stead. Isn't that what we are doing now?


Even the Star Spangled Banner's lyrics mentions slavery: 'No refuge could save the hireling and slave...'


Change it.


Both Delegate Karen Lewis Young and her bill are a waste of tax dollars. There are a lot of bigger problems she needs to concentrate on than a state song!!


thank you and spot on..


[thumbup] ... yep.

Glen Shiel



The Confederacy killed 148 US Marines KIA .


sigh, there goes the youngs again! How are our progeny going to learn history if we just erase it!


I believe Confederates killed more US Marines than all Islamic extremists combined.



Glen Shiel

All who fought in the War Between the States were Americans so, by your logic, US Marines killed more Americans than did Islamic extremists combined also.


would have been nice if the poem referred to was printed for comparison.


It's now on the left-hand side of the article.


that would be the CURRENT state song. Not the proposed one.


"Northern Scum" would be a good name for a rock band.


It truly is an outdated vestige of a bygone era. Changing it would not "erase" history because the books will always show this song to be the Maryland state song from 1939-2015, and future historians will look at that and wonder how such a relic survived for so long.

Confederate 's troops arrived in Frederick singing this song in the hopes that the town's Southern sympathizers would rise up but discovered the town to be very pro-Union. My ancestors fought (and some died) for the North, and I'm not at all thrilled about living in a state with an official song proclaiming them "Northern scum."


MD is one of the few states where it literally was brother v. brother. Remember, MD only stayed in the Union at gun point. And despite spending huge amounts of time on the Civil War and Reconstruction in High School history classes details like that are over looked. The fact that the periodic debate over this song does allow the opportunity to confront the darker aspects of history, the parts we generally like sweeping under the rug (Lincoln's suspension of habeas corpus and the willful dismissal of a SCOTUS ruling against him come to mind) would be in my mind the only reason to keep this song and not retire it.

That said, I'm not sure Karen Young's suggested replacement works either, having never seen it, nor having heard it to music. In fact I'm not sure it was ever meant to be a song. The FNP article does call it a poem.


I'm aware of the unique position of Maryland during the Civil War and its forced vote to remain with the Union, and I agree with you that the uglier parts of the Civil War (and history overall) should not be forgotten. But a song written to encourage Maryland to stand up for a cause which was lost 150 years ago with vitriol towards the Union and Lincoln is not the way to go. If the song has been an over-the-top pro-Union piece equally disparaging of the South, I'd be against it as well. State songs should not be a place for divisiveness.

MMM was also written as a poem and then set to the same tune as O Tannenbaum so I'm sure Young's suggestion could be set to music as well whether original or existing. For that matter we don't need an immediate replacement. Virginia retired their state song in 1997 and didn't adopt a new official state song until this year. There's no reason it can't be done here.


This is getting ridiculous! What's next? Completely remvoing the years 1861 - 1865 from our history books??


A song from a Southern supporter
who fled from our state in short order
and turned up his nose
writing flowery prose
drinking hurricanes in the French Quarter.




Could someone explain to me what part of this song is racist?


If you look at it, in it's entirety, it is, but nothing directly racist.


Stupid idea. Let's wipe out all history and start new.....


stop picking apart our history, that is what it is. we have grown from it and must not forget it.

Glen Shiel

This PC crap is getting far too carried away. Anyone who voted for that moronic woman should be ashamed of themselves.


Some people think that racism is referred to in anything...just like some people can see a swastika in anything. Even Frederick...Fred and Rick were slave owners a couple hundred years ago. Ban the name of our city! [angry]


We should change the flag too, because the crosses on it are reflective of only one religion and are "divisive". The flag should represent people of ALL religions. [wink]


Antonin Scalia to the rescue: He suggested in open court a few years ago that a cross is not specifically Christian or even, for that matter, religious. He said that a cross represents everyone.


Enough of this political correctness buffoonery we must embrace our supremacy or risk perishing forever we're fighting for our mere survival people said the confederate sympathizer.


I can't imagine anything worse for a state song. The best that can be said is that it's boring, plodding, dull-witted and completely irrelevant to Maryland's past or present. It's seditious, too, insofar as there could possibly be any logic to preaching rebellion against the government in a war that has been over for 150 years. (And the General Assembly adopted this POS in 1939? What's that all about?)

Can't Maryland commission a legitimate composer to produce something positive, something decent, something meaningful for all Marylanders?


If MD is getting new lyrics or a new state song, I rather not leave it up to Lewis Young. Let's crowdsource it.


A single confederate sympathizer terrorist attack and entire nation wants to overreact by enacting anti racist legislation.

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