Updated: Sunday, noon
The Flyers have removed Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" from their music library and on Sunday, they removed the statue of the opera singer near the Wells Fargo Center in light of several songs by Smith containing racist lyrics being unearthed.
Here is the Flyers' statement released Sunday afternoon:
Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" was first played at select Flyers home games in the late 1960s. She first sung the song live in Philadelphia in 1973. Smith died at 79 years old in 1986 and her statue originally stood outside of the Spectrum. Now, it stands outside of XFINITY Live!
The Flyers' decision comes in the wake of a New York Daily News report, which stated the Yankees were no longer going to play Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" during the seventh-inning stretch because of Smith's history of potential racism.
Below is a section of the report:
Smith was a famous singer before and during WWII who recorded the offensive jingle, 'Pickaninny Heaven' which she directed at 'colored children' who should fantasize about an amazing place with 'great big watermelons,' among other treats. She shot a video for that song that takes place in an orphanage for black children, and much of the imagery is startlingly racist. She also recorded, 'That's Why Darkies Were Born,' which included the lyrics, 'Someone had to pick the cotton. … That's why darkies were born.'
In recent years past, before very select home games, whether it be a big playoff contest or a special occasion, Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" would play in cohesion with team anthemist Lauren Hart singing live, making for a duet.
That will no longer be the case moving forward.
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