Kate Smith’s rendition of ‘God Bless America’ is no longer being played during the seventh-inning stretch at New York Yankees home games after the club recently learned of her history of singing racist songs.
According to the
The Yankees have been using different versions of ‘God Bless America’ in place of Smith’s recording, and will continue to do so.
Yankees star Babe Ruth and popular singer Kate Smith rehearse together in New York, September 1936, promoting her new Thursday evening Bandwagon series. Her 1939 version of ‘God Bless America’ will no longer be played at Yankee Stadium in the seventh inning
The Yankees have been using Smith’s 1939 ‘God Bless America’ recording over the last 18 seasons, following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001, when they still played at the original Yankee Stadium (pictured). The Yankees moved into a new facility in 2009
‘The Yankees have been aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information,’ a club spokesman said, according to the Daily News. ‘The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.’
The team had been using Smith’s 1939 ‘God Bless America’ recording over the last 18 seasons following the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001.
Smith as immortalized with her own statue outside the old Philadelphia Flyers’ home arena, the Spectrum, where her song was used as a good luck charm in the 70s and 80s
According to the Daily News, Smith said she directed ‘Pickaninny Heaven’ at ‘colored children,’ and she included a line about a place with ‘great big watermelons.’
A film for that song took place in a black orphanage.
In her song, ‘That’s Why Darkies Were Born,’ Smith included the lyrics, ‘Someone had to pick the cotton. … That’s why darkies were born.’
Smith died in 1986 – well after she endorsed the ‘Mammy Doll,’ which has been criticized as a racist caricature of a black woman.
She was immortalized with her own statue outside the old Philadelphia Flyers’ home arena, the Spectrum, where her song was used as a good luck charm in the 70s and 80s.
According to the Daily News, live performers may ultimately replace Smith’s 1939 rendition.
Smith was given the Presidential Medal of Freedom by Ronald Reagan in 1982.
George Herman (Babe) Ruth tries out some comedy on The Kate Smith Hour program (also known as The Kate Smith A&P Bandwagon). Image dated September 1, 1936