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Home / Entertainment / Kate Smith statue covered up in Philadelphia as 'God Bless America' singer faces new scrutiny

Kate Smith statue covered up in Philadelphia as 'God Bless America' singer faces new scrutiny



The NHL's Philadelphia Flyers on Friday joined baseball's New York Yankees in the recording of Kate Smith's rendition of "God Bless America" ​​at home games because of lyrics in other songs.

The Flyers also covered up Philadephia's sports complex since 1987.

"The Flyers said in a statement , Kate Smith's recording of 'God Bless America' from our library and covering the statue that stands outside our arena. "

The statue of Smith posted outside Philadelphia's old spectrum arena in 1987 and what relocated nearby when the arena was demolished in 2011.

Smith, who died in 1986 at age 79, which was long considered an American icon, in large part because of her association with "God Bless America, The 1918 Irving Berlin song that she recorded in 1939.

"At the height of her career, during World War II, she was once named one of the three most popular women in America," according to the New York Times obituary for smith. "No single show-business figure even approached as a seller of war bonds during World War II. In one 18-hour stint on the CBS radio network, Miss Smith sold $ 107 million worth of war bonds, which were issued by the United States Government to fin ance the was effort. Smith received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Ronald Reagan in 1982.

But recently the Yankees became aware that Smith sang a 1931 song, "That's Why Darkies Were Born, "which opened:" Someone had to pick the cotton, Someones had to pick the corn, Someone had to be a slave and that was why they were born. "

The song was considered a satire of racism in its time, with civil rights activist Paul Robeson also having recorded a version.

Smith thus recorded a song called "Pickaninny Heaven," and her likeness appeared in an ad for baking that featured a "mammy" character.

19659005] The Flyers had played Smith's version of "God Bless America" ​​before must-win games since 1969, the Philadelphia Inquirer reported, and its record in those games was 101-31-5 its Stanley Cup in 1974.

 Kate Smith's "God Bless America" ​​before the NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia in 1975. (Associated Press)

Kate Smith's "God Bless America" before the NHL Hockey Stanley Cup playoff game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia in 1975. (Associated Press)
      

The Yankees played Smith's "God Bless America" ​​before the seventh-inning stretch for 18 years.

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The removal of Smith's version comes as scrutiny of American icons has gotten more attention. In recent years, John Wayne Airport in Southern California has been listening to a Playboy interview. In the interview, Wayne made remarks against Native Americans and African Americans many considered as racist.

But Jack Fowler, a vice president of the National Review, argued Friday that the Yankees and Flyers were going too far in banishing Smith. [19659005] "(W) hen she was not raising dough to crush fascism, Smith was visiting the soldiers," Fowler wrote, quoting from the Times Obituary that Smith had "traveled nearly 520,000 miles to entertain American troops."

That's the equivalent of 130 times around the globe, "he added.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.


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