The Philadelphia Flyers have followed the New York Yankees, who are no longer going to play Smith’s rendition of “God Bless America,” during the seventh-inning stretch because of her alleged history of potential racism in some of the songs she recorded during her career.
The Flyers have also covered up the statue of opera singer Kate Smith that was located near the Wells Fargo Center outside of XFINITY Live!, as well as, have removed her rendition of the patriotic song from their music library.
Among the questionable songs Smith is said to have recorded was one entitled “That’s Why Darkies Were Born,” which is alleged to include the lyrics, “Someone had to pick the cotton … That’s why darkies were born.”
Smith is also reported to have recorded a jingle, titled “Pickaninny Heaven” which is alleged to be directed at colored children, and in which the lyrics encourage the children to fantasize about a fantastical place with “great big watermelons.” In a video recorded for the jingle, it is set within the background of an orphanage for black children.
“God bless America” sung by Smith was first played at Philadelphia Flyers home games in the late 1960s. Smith died in 1986 at the age of 79.