Monument to 'Star-Spangled Banner' writer defaced in Baltimore

Francis Scott Key Monument vandalized
WBAL-TV\Lowell Melser Francis Scott Key Monument vandalized SOURCE WBAL-TV\Lowell Melser
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14 September, 2017

The statue in the Bolton Hill neighborhood was found covered in red and black paint with the words "Racist Anthem" spray painted on the side of the monument.

Two verses from the poem, "No refuge could save, Hireling or slave/ From terror of flight, Or gloom of grave", were also painted in black on the ground near the statue.

"The mayor thinks it's very unfortunate that this took place", he said.

Pugh removed four Confederate monuments from downtown Baltimore after a man ran down counterprotesters at a white nationalist gathering in Charlottesville last month, killing a 32-year-old woman and injuring many others. "There's a way to go about doing this that Baltimore, of any place has seen how to go about doing that", police spokesman T.J. Smith said.

Key wrote the poem, Star Spangled Banner, which would later become the national anthem, on this day exactly 203 years ago, while aboard a British ship during the War of 1812. However, he did own slaves and opposed the abolition of slavery.

The Baltimore Sun described Key as having a mixed record on race, writing his "actions helped incite a race riot in the District of Columbia" due to Key's actions as district attorney in the arrest of an abolitionist.

This vandalism is reported three weeks after the Christopher Columbus statue in Baltimore City was vandalized, with the suspected vandal posting a video on You Tube. It was something that he chose to do.

McCarthy said there were no plans to remove the Key statue.


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