[Ads-l] "slave"

Ben Zimmer bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM
Fri Sep 2 18:48:37 EDT 2016


Mark Clague, a musicologist at the University of Michigan and the founding
board chairman of the Star Spangled Music Foundation, wrote this rebuttal
on CNN:

http://www.cnn.com/2016/08/31/opinions/star-spangled-banner-criticisms-opinion-clague/

The New York Times has an interview with Clague:

http://www.nytimes.com/2016/09/03/arts/music/colin-kaepernick-national-anthem.html

Relevant excerpt:

----
The social context of the song comes from the age of slavery, but the song
itself isn’t about slavery, and it doesn’t treat whites differently from
blacks. The reference to slaves is about the use, and in some sense the
manipulation, of black Americans to fight for the British, with the promise
of freedom. The American forces included African-Americans as well as
whites. The term “freemen,” whose heroism is celebrated in the fourth
stanza, would have encompassed both.
----


On Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 3:38 PM, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com>
wrote:

> And the basis for preferring that reading over the figurative use of
> "hirelings and slaves" as a set phrase is what?
>
> Cf. OED "slave," Ib & 2a.
>
> The stanza in question:
>
> 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 washed out their foul footsteps' 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!
>
> These "hirelings and slaves" vaunted that war would end the United States.
> Former slaves rather than minions of the Crown?
>
> JL
>
>
>
> JL
>
>
>
> On Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 3:15 PM, Joel Berson <berson at att.net> wrote:
>
> > My reading is yes, Francis Scott Key was referring to enslaved blacks who
> > had been recruited by the British -- along with the "hirelings", Hessian
> > soldiers who made up a large proportion of the British forces in America,
> > to reclaim the United States as a British colony.
> >
> > Joel
> >
> >
> >       From: Ben Zimmer <bgzimmer at GMAIL.COM>
> >  To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> >  Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 1:12 PM
> >  Subject: Re: [ADS-L] "slave"
> >
> > This piece has been widely circulated over the last few days:
> >
> > https://theintercept.com/2016/
> 08/28/colin-kaepernick-is-righter-than-you-know-the-national-anthem-is-a-
> celebration-of-slavery/
> >
> > Snopes investigates:
> >
> > http://www.snopes.com/2016/08/29/star-spangled-banner-and-slavery/
> >
> >
> > On Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 12:37 PM, Jonathan Lighter <
> wuxxmupp2000 at gmail.com
> > >
> > wrote:
> >
> > > I stand corrected.
> > >
> > > I was too flabbergasted/dismayed/etc. to choose a more historically
> > precise
> > > term, something I'm pedantically inclined to do at all times.
> > >
> > > Google shows that Blake is not alone in his belief.
> > >
> > >
> > > On Wed, Aug 31, 2016 at 11:57 AM, Laurence Horn <
> laurence.horn at yale.edu>
> > > wrote:
> > >
> > > > > On Aug 31, 2016, at 11:02 AM, Joel Berson <berson at ATT.NET> wrote:
> > > > >
> > > > > Sali,
> > > > >
> > > > > Do you consider 1814, when "The Star-Spangled Banner" was written,
> as
> > > > being during the colonial period of the US?  A very Anglo-philic
> > stance,
> > > > just what the British were still believing then?  :-)  I would say
> > there
> > > > were "enslaved African-Americans" in 1814.
> > > > >
> > > > > Joel
> > > >
> > > > Maybe it depends on whether to be an "X-American" you have to be an
> > > > American citizens.  As late as the Dred Scott decision (1850s?) it
> was
> > > > clear that legally slaves (or "enslaved persons") were not citizens,
> > and
> > > > thus perhaps on that basis were not (African-)Americans.  On the
> other
> > > > hand, they would have been considered American slaves, where
> "American"
> > > is
> > > > more of a place name than nationality.  This is all pretty
> hindsighty,
> > of
> > > > course.
> > > >
> > > > LH
> > > > >
> > > > >
> > > > >      From: Salikoko S. Mufwene <s-mufwene at UCHICAGO.EDU>
> > > > > To: ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU
> > > > > Sent: Wednesday, August 31, 2016 9:51 AM
> > > > > Subject: Re: [ADS-L] "slave"
> > > > >
> > > > > Just a minor correction, JL. From a historical perspective, there
> > were
> > > > > enslaved Africans, not enslaved African Americans during the
> colonial
> > > > > history of the US or of the 13 English colonies. During that time
> the
> > > > > class of Americans was very restricted, even some Europeans did not
> > > > > count as Americans.
> > > > >
> > > > > Sali.
> > > > >
> > > > > On 8/31/2016 7:06 AM, Jonathan Lighter wrote:
> > > > >> Former tennis star James Blake has explained to CNN that "The
> > > > Star-Spangled
> > > > >> Banner" is "a song that advocates the killing of slaves."
> > > > >>
> > > > >> The "hireling and slave" in the song, of course, are not enslaved
> > > > >> African-Americans but redcoats, Hessian mercenaries, and cringing
> > > > Tories.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Proof? Read the lyrics.
> > > > >>
> > > > >> Of course, as D----d T---p has demonstrated, words don't mean much
> > > > anymore.
> > > > >>
> > >
> >
>

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