Some Americans are calling for a new national anthem amid the nationwide trend of removing monuments, statues and other symbols that have ties to slavery.
Francis Scott Key wrote the poem “Defence of Fort M’Henry” on September 14, 1814 when he saw the US flag flying over the fort at dawn’s early light, according to the Smithsonian Institute.
This poem later served as the lyrics for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which became the official national anthem of the US in 1931.
However, citizens are now asking for a new national anthem because of Key’s ties to slavery.
The Smithsonian reports that Key was a slave owner and defended slave owners’ rights to own human property.
A change.org petition was recently created to change the national anthem to “America the Beautiful.”
The petition alleges that not only did Key own slaves, but also that the song itself “contains racism, elitism and even sexism embedded in its third and fourth stanzas.”