The California Chapter of the NAACP has launched a campaign to remove “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem.
Citing a seldom-sung third verse, the organization says lyrics are racist. The third verse includes the passage:
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave
Last week, the NAACP began circulating among legislative offices two resolutions that passed at its state conference in October. One urges Congress to rescind “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon” as the national anthem, and another in support of former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The athlete launched a national protest against police brutality by kneeling instead of standing while the “The Star-Spangled Banner” was played before games.
“We owe a lot of it to Kaepernick,” California NAACP President Alice Huffman said. “I think all this controversy about the knee will go away once the song is removed.”
Huffman drafted the NAACP’s resolutions this fall after President Donald Trump suggested NFL owners should fire any “son of a b**ch” who doesn’t stand for the anthem. The second resolution calls on Congress to censure Trump for his remarks, and asks NFL teams to find a spot for Kaepernick, who has not played football this season. Some believe he was blacklisted over the protests.
California lawmakers return to the Capitol in January.