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Kentucky State Flag Kentucky

The Kentucky State Song

My Old Kentucky Home

words and music by Stephen C. Foster

    The sun shines bright in the old Kentucky home,
    'Tis summer, the people are gay;
    The corn-top's ripe and the meadow's in the bloom,
    While the birds make music all the day.

    The young folks roll on the little cabin floor,
    All merry, all happy and bright;
    By 'n' by Hard Times comes a-knocking at the door,
    Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.

   CHORUS
    Weep no more my lady
    Oh! weep no more today!
    We will sing one song for the old Kentucky home,
    For the Old Kentucky Home far away.

    They hunt no more for the possum and the coon,
    On meadow, the hill and the shore,
    They sing no more by the glimmer of the moon,
    On the bench by the old cabin door.

    The day goes by like a shadow o'er the heart,
    With sorrow, where all was delight,
    The time has come when the people have to part,
    Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.

   CHORUS

    The head must bow and the back will have to bend,
    Wherever the people may go;
    A few more days, and the trouble all will end,
    In the field where the sugar-canes grow;

    A few more days for to tote the weary load,
    No matter, 'twill never be light;
    A few more days till we totter on the road,
    Then my old Kentucky home, goodnight.

   CHORUS

Adoption of State Song

The song, "My Old Kentucky Home," words and music by Stephen Collins Foster, was adopted by the Kentucky Legislature as the Kentucky state song on March 19, 1928.

In March, 1986, a group of Japanese students visiting the Kentucky General Assembly changed the song forever. To pay their respects, the group sang "My Old Kentucky Home." Upon hearing the phrase, " 'Tis summer, the darkies are gay," Representative Carl Hines (Democrat-Louisville), the only black member of the House, was quoted as saying that the lyrics of the rendition "convey connotations of racial descrimination that are not acceptable." Within the week, he sponsored a bill which the House passed, House resolution 159, which officiated the modern lyrics with the line, 'Tis summer, the people are gay." Hines substantiated the bill, citing that the original lyrics were offensive, owing no respect toward African-Americans.

An Act of the Legislature 1928

Kentucky Statutes

The following information is excerpted from the Kentucky Statutes, Title 1, Chapter 2, Section 2.100. Words to the songs are not included in the statutes.


Source: Kentucky Department For Libraries and Archives, http://www.kdla.ky.gov), November 26, 2004
Source: State Names, Seals, Flags, and Symbols by Benjamin F. Shearer and Barbara S. Shearer, Copyright 2002
Source: State Songs America, Edited by M.J. Bristow, Copyright 2000
Source: State Names, Flags, Seals, Songs, Birds, Flowers, and Other Symbols by George Earlie Shankle, Ph.D., Copyright 1938




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