People have questioned why the national anthem of the United States mentions slavery. Is the song racist, patriotic, or both?
In this 90-second video, Nicole Eustace, professor of history at New York University, puts the song and its lyrics in context.
The national anthem lyrics in question are:
“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.”
“Just like so many of our American documents,” she says, “it’s simultaneously kind of a record of our problems and also maybe a resource for progress.”