Kate Smith Statue in Philly Now Looks Like This

NHL's Flyers cover it up amid racism controversy over old recordings
By Newser Editors,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 19, 2019 2:38 PM CDT
Kate Smith Statue in Philly Now Looks Like This
The covered Kate Smith statue sits outside Wells Fargo Center in Philadelphia on Friday.   (David Maialetti/The Philadelphia Inquirer via AP)

A racism controversy involving the late singer Kate Smith now has a very tangible presence outside Philadelphia's Wells Fargo Center, where the NHL's Flyers play. The team covered up a statue of Smith, who has a long tradition with the team, reports the Philadelphia Inquirer. The team also pulled her recording of "God Bless America" from its recording list, after the New York Yankees did the same. The controversy stems from renewed attention to old recordings of two songs, "That's Why Darkies Were Born" and "Pickaninny Heaven." Smith, who died in 1986, used to sing "God Bless America" in person before big Flyers' games, and the team swore she always brought them luck.

As the New York Times notes, the Yankees have played Smith's version of the song for years during the seventh-inning stretch, but no more. “We have recently become aware that several songs performed by Kate Smith contain offensive lyrics that do not reflect our values as an organization," said the Flyers, echoing the statement by the Yankees. " As we continue to look into this serious matter, we are removing Kate Smith’s recording of ‘God Bless America’ from our library and covering up the statue that stands outside of our arena.” (More God Bless America stories.)

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