The classic song “My Old Kentucky Home” will be played at the Kentucky Derby on Saturday, as the event will choose tradition over the complaints from activists who contend the ballad is racist.
WLKY-TV reported that despite an effort to cancel the song, it will be part of the 2021 race, being played just before the bell.
WLKY noted the song has been played annually at the race since at least 1921. But in recent years, organizers have faced pressure to choose another song.
Smithsonian Magazine profiled the controversy over the song last September.
The outlet reported that songwriter Stephen Foster wrote the song in the 1850s “as an anti-slavery song, inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe’s ‘Uncle Tom’s Cabin’ and following the same story arc as Stowe’s title character. His initial working title was ‘Poor Uncle Tom, Goodnight.’”
“Few of those singing along, however, may realize that the original lyrics were not a ‘Dixie’-esque paean but actually a condemnation of