The New York Yankees have decided to no longer run Kate Smith’s version of “God Bless America” during their seventh-inning stretch because of Smith’s affiliation with songs that carried racist lyrics.
Most famously, Smith sang a 1931 song, “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which opened: “Someone had to pick the cotton, Someone had to pick the corn, Someone had to slave and be able to sing, That’s why darkies were born.”
The song, which has been called a satirical take on racism, was a big hit for Smith, and also was recorded by Paul Robeson.
When the Yankees last month became aware of Smith’s history, they switched to a keyboard version of “God Bless America.”
The Yankees have played the song in the middle of every game since the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks at the insistence of late owner George Steinbrenner.
In 2009, the Yankees cut ties with singer Ronan Tynan, who had made numerous appearances at the Stadium to sing “God Bless America,” after he was alleged to have made anti-Semitic comments.