By Shirin Rajaee

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The California NAACP is pushing to get rid of the national anthem that they’re calling racist and anti-black.

“This song is wrong; it shouldn’t have been there, we didn’t have it ’til 1931, so it won’t kill us if it goes away,” said the organization’s president Alice Huffman.

Colin Kaepernick started the NFL protests, which quickly spread to bring attention to systemic racial injustice in the country. But Huffman says Kaepernick’s message was lost when it turned into a debate about the flag.

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“The message got distorted, the real intentions got overlooked, it became something that’s dividing us, and I’m looking for something to bring us back together,” she said.

Huffman adds that the protests did lead her to look at the lyrics of the “Star Spangled Banner” especially the parts of the anthem we don’t typically sing.

“It’s racist; it doesn’t represent our community, it’s anti-black,” she said.

Huffman is referring to the third stanza which includes the lyric “no refuge could save the hireling and slave from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”

THIRD STANZA (FULL LYRICS AT BOTTOM OF STORY)

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

She says some interpretations conclude that the lyrics celebrate the deaths of black American slaves fighting for freedom, and the song should be replaced with something that supports all of our values.

“That’s an extreme way of doing things,” said Kenneth Lu, a veteran living in Davis.

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The opinions varied at the VFW in West Sacramento.

“I believe it’s a slap across the face, whether there’s a flaw in the context, I don’t see it that way. I have to stick with our traditions and our values and what we represent,” said Sydney Lugo.

“It won’t solve any problem,” said veteran John Cox.

Huffman says it may not solve anything, but it’s a step towards social justice that she says is long overdue.

“This is not about the flag. We love the flag. This is about a song that should never have been the national anthem. This country is a country that has shared values, and the more we respect each other, the better off we’ll be as a country,” said Huffman.

A separate resolution by the California NAACP is calling on Congress to censure President Donald Trump for his remarks about firing those who don’t stand for the anthem. They are also asking NFL teams to let Kaepernick play again.

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“He still has a lot of talent, and he has the right to play, why should he be persecuted over peaceful protest?”

The organization is still looking for legislative sponsors for these resolutions.

STAR-SPANGLED BANNER FULL LYRICS

O say can you see, by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hail’d at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight
O’er the ramparts we watch’d were so gallantly streaming?
And the rocket’s red glare, the bomb bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there,
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?

On the shore dimly seen through the mists of the deep
Where the foe’s haughty host in dread silence reposes,
What is that which the breeze, o’er the towering steep,
As it fitfully blows, half conceals, half discloses?
Now it catches the gleam of the morning’s first beam,
In full glory reflected now shines in the stream,
‘Tis the star-spangled banner – O long may it wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave!

And where is that band who so vauntingly swore,
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
A home and a Country should leave us no more?
Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave,
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

O thus be it ever when freemen shall stand
Between their lov’d home and the war’s desolation!
Blest with vict’ry and peace may the heav’n rescued land
Praise the power that hath made and preserv’d us a nation!
Then conquer we must, when our cause it is just,
And this be our motto – “In God is our trust,”
And the star-spangled banner in triumph shall wave
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.

Comments (191)
  1. Those who do not identify with the U.S. should have their own National Anthem and the U.S. should have its own Football League.

  2. The only thing doing any sort of dividing, causing division, would be the fabric underneath that hair piece. This lady is out of her mind. Bringing this up is just something else, and then, it will be some thing else…and so on, so forth.

  3. Then simply remove the third verse; it’s never sung anyway.

  4. Jay Cooper says:

    Lacey Sheridan has the best idea.

  5. Dan Kiniry says:

    MORONS. THEY GET NOTHING. TRY RUSSIA MAYBE YOU’LL LIKE IT BETTER COMMIES!!!!!

  6. Greg Hawkins says:

    National Association of Colored People? Cool I want to talk like when I grew up. They are Colored people again.

  7. The people in question were British soldiers.

  8. Fabulous news!!
    Yes, please, hammer this idea forward to 2018. Its how Democrats can take over congress.
    Swell idea!!!!!!!

  9. The majority losses its rights because a minority does not like that song or some other issue. Then leave America. There is a solution for your frustration, leave America so that you do not have to hear that song any more or any other objection. Get out

  10. Brian Stuart says:

    Whichever interpretation say the third stanza refers to American blacks would be wrong. The poem is literally about the Battle of Ft. McHenry. In fact, the original title was Defense of Ft. McHenry. All references to the attackers is a reference to the British. Any other interpretation is just silly.

  11. The #NAACP needs to calm down and do some research. The phrase is lifted directly from the 1798 Irish song of rebellion – Kelly, the Boy from Killane – and refers to the British army….

  12. Dear idiot California NAACP – the verse you object to laments the killing by the British of the hireling and the slave. There were slaves within the range of British guns. The song describes a battle, remember?

    Also, you don’t censure a President for an off-hand remark in a speech at a rally.

  13. Alice Huffman – please get a clue before you open your mouth the next time. “Slave” in the national anthem is a direct reference to the British practice of kidnapping American seamen (blacks and whites) and forcing them into service on British man-of war ships. This was the reason we went to war with British in 1812 in the first place.

  14. Katz Kalore says:

    the American Indians should speak up. these blacks have lived on welfare and it should been cut out years ago! the blacks are dividing themselves! nobody even pays attention to the words. what are they wanting more free stuff! they have education and welfare handed to them on a platter. let’s cut it out and make everybody the same. take away their big bucks on nfl. they are nothing but trouble makes!

  15. what will they replace the anthem with Eeny, Meeny, Miny, Moe?

  16. Pam Paulin says:

    Once again the NAACP shows their stupidity. Learn history your morons. My goodness. Whoever’s bright idea was needs to crawl back into their hole.

  17. They have read the verse, but are ignorant to its meaning…

    And where is that band who so vauntingly swore, (British soldiers)
    That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion
    A home and a Country should leave us no more?
    Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution. (British soldiers)
    No refuge could save the hireling and slave (British soldiers)
    From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave, (British soldiers)
    And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave
    O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave. (All Americans)

    Makes sense if you read it and understand it. God Bless America! You will not bring her down!

  18. Jack Midkiff says:

    This is absurd. Acknowledge your history and be proud we moved forward as a civil human race side by side equal. Statues, songs, whats next erase textbooks?

  19. 1) It’s historic, you morons.
    2) What else you gonna rhyme with “grave”?
    Oh wait… maybe if we just deny slavery ever happened that will fix all the black community’s problems!!! Yeah let’s do that

  20. Why should I listen to the opinions of someone who demonstrates that they can’t read and understand what they think they have an opinion of?

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