Kate Smith: Yankees stop using singer’s recording of “God Bless America” while investigating racism – CBS News



/ CBS/AP

New York— The Yankees have suspended the use of Kate Smith’s recording of “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch while they investigate an allegation of racism against the singer. The New York Daily News reported Thursday there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born.”

The song originated in the 1931 Broadway revue “George White’s Scandals,” and was considered satire. It was recorded by Smith and also by Paul Robeson, who was black.

The team said in a statement: “The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information. The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

Smith died in 1986. The Yankees have used her recording of “God Bless America” and sometimes live singers during the seventh inning since the 2001 terrorist attacks. They used an organ version Wednesday and Thursday.

CBS Philly reportsthat Smith is most famous in the Philadelphia sports scene for performing “God Bless America” before Flyers games in the 1970’s. In 1987, one year after Smith died, the Flyers erected a statue honoring Smith outside the Spectrum. That statue now stands between the Wells Fargo Center and Xfinity Live!.

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New York Yankees star Babe Ruth and popular singer Kate Smith rehearse together in New York, September 1936, promoting her new Thursday evening Bandwagon series debuting September 17 on the WABC-Columbia radio network. Kate and the Babe were featured in a “comedy sketch of domestic life.”

Anthony Camerano / AP


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