Philadelphia Flyers remove statue of late singer Kate Smith

Lydia FlemingApr 25, 2019

Headshot portrait of Smith in 1945.

Another of Smith's songs was "That's Why Darkies Were Born", which is also racist.

Another is her 1933 recording, "Pickaninny Heaven", which asks "colored children" living in an orphanage to dream about a magical place of "great big watermelons".

Bob Andron also told the station that "we need the words and the song of "God Bless America" singing loud again".

The New York team had been using Smith's 1939 "God Bless America" recording for the last 18 seasons, starting after the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001. She sang the revised version.

Once Smith sang the tune on the radio, it quickly became known as her song.

I suppose we should be happy that "God Bless America" wasn't labeled as racist. Smith performed the song several times in person before games at the height of the team's success in the 1970s and the club erected a statue of her outside the Spectrum in 1987, a year after her death.

Smith made over 2000 recordings, 19 of which sold over a million copies, according to the Radio Hall of Fame. "That's why darkies were born".

Kate Smith's family is none too pleased by the Philadelphia Flyers' decision to cut ties with the late singer after racist lyrics she recorded in the 1930s resurfaced. The former song originated in the 1931 Broadway revue "George White's Scandals" and was purported to be a satire of white supremacists. But modern-day audiences inevitably cringe at lines like: "Someone had to pick the cotton / Someone had to plant the corn / Someone had to slave and be able to sing / That's why darkies were born".

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"The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and chose to immediately and carefully review this new information", a team spokesman told the Daily News last week.

"The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously", the statement read.

While the spokesman added that no definite conclusions had been made, they wanted to err on the side of "sensitivity".

"While Kate Smith's performance of "God Bless America" can not be erased from it place Flyers history, that rendition will no longer be featured in our game presentations", the Flyers statement concluded.

"I'm appalled", Suzy Andron, Smith's niece, told CBS Philadelphia. In his remarks, Reagan said: "It's been truly said that one of the most inspiring things our G.I.s in World War II, Europe, and the Pacific, and later in Korea and Vietnam, ever heard was the voice of Kate Smith - and the same is true for all of us".

The decision to ditch Smith for racist songs that were recorded almost 90 years ago was widely panned, with Smith's family saying that they were "appalled" by the decision.

Now, the Flyers have followed suit and began removing a statue to the singer who died in 1986, USA Today wrote.

A partially covered statue of singer Kate Smith is seen near the Wells Fargo Center, Friday, April 19, 2019, in Philadelphia.

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