tv Mark Clague O Say Can You Hear CSPAN October 5, 2022 11:36am-12:42pm EDT
stand between you and dinner. thank you very much. it was great to see you all. [applause] weekends on c-span two are an intellectual feast. every saturday, american documents america story. and on sundays, book tv brings you the latest in nonfiction books and authors. funding for c-span two comes from these television companies and more including cox. >> homework can be hard, but squatting in a diner for internet work is even harder. that is why we are providing lower income students access to affordable internet. so homework can just be homework. costs, connect to compete. >> cox, along with these television companies, support c-span 2 as a public service. >> thank you everybody for coming up to the library on this absolutely beautiful
evening. my name is emily and i am on the events team at the district library. we are always thrilled to partner with the rocky bookstore, who are are the ones who brought us this event. thank you so much. we are going to have a discussion by mark clague. mark is a professor of at u of m and will be joining the conversation by omari rush, who is the executive director of culture source. and we are going to have a company meant by soprano jennifer goltz, who is a lecturer of music at u of m. and with that i will pass it over to mark and omari. [applause] >> thank you, emily. so again, folks, welcome on this sunny, beautiful, not 90
to greet afternoon in ann arbor. it's nice to be with you all, especially nice to be with you mark and jennifer, to launch this great accomplishment, this book, o say can you hear? >> it's easy to mess up. >> just dig in and learn more. if you're -- in case you did not know, there are books available for purchase today, and i hope you will all be so moved as to buy your coffee and get it autographed by the mark clague. so just a tiny plug there. we will be together for about an hour today, and like i said we are going to explore the book. we will have jennifer as our musical guide to the book, as through the anthem, so i encourage you all to just right now go ahead and start massaging your throat. just be thinking good thoughts
about singing, because we are going to ask you all to join in at various points this afternoon. to start, i would also like to thank the and arbor district library for hosting. it's great to have partners in these community to have these kind of events and lift up this work. so many thanks to them mark, congratulations again on this achievement. as i said earlier just to set us off, it would be great to know about more than your title. so i remember when i was a grad student at the university of michigan, i always knew you as the cool professor. >> that was a construct, but i'm glad it worked. >> [laughs] i'm curious, why do you think i thought that? i'm just putting you on the spot. >> i think it was jimi hendrix. that's sort of the way i got into this whole project, trying to be the cool professor. and i started off my classes in american music with jimi
hendrix at would stop playing the star-spangled banner. i thought i must be cool. of course, that was like in the preview two days when it took assert a bit of insider knowledge to find that documentary film, and have some of those early videos and musicology professors with trade those videos back and forth. hendricks at would stop, and now on youtube you can find everything. it's one of the cool things about the book, actually. i've been working on it, i mean i say ten years, it's probably more like 15 or 20, because it really comes out of my teaching. i'm a course on american music. so the real question is what is american music? i figured the start spinning -- star-spangled banner if anything is american music, and hundreds is particularly engaging because there's a lot of coded messages. there's like multiple layers in the message to his performance, and it shows how the star-spangled banner can carry extra meaning, which is not just sort of a symbol of
society, but actually a tool for constructing society. like helping us understand ourselves. that is really the bigger message of the book. i come by my patriotism on ali -- honestly, i was born here in ann arbor. we would have little neighborhood parades in 1976, i would have my red, white and blue bicycle with us dreamers out. i thought pretty -- i felt hook, line and sinker for the nation -- ideals of the nation. i think in recent years, as i've become a historian, i realized it's a more complicated thing than that, the patriotic mythology. in some ways, the star-spangled banner has lacked that kind of analysis and introspection. we tend to see it as a very simple quick meaning, actually it's not clear and simple. metal sometimes people say how did you write the whole book around -- about a song? i think i could've written two or three books, and making it
short and compact was one of the biggest challenges, trying to figure out what i really wanted to say. but it has been endlessly fascinating for me. >> mark, if we think about what got you to the book, you are on faculty and the school of music, and many people are thinking about beethoven and mozart. you went with contemporary american music. what drew you to that as a scholarly pursuit? then to write this book. >> so when i was a kid growing up, i played in a band in middle school and high school. i played in the and are you stephanie, michigan symphony. music to me met community. it meant my friends. it was the place that brought us together. it was something that brought us together. when i was in my initial history classes, they were talking about beethoven. the value of music is that it transcended time and place. right? we were still playing
beethoven's fifth symphony 200 years later, and because of that it was valuable. whereas that did not really ring true for me. what music was valuable to me is because it was the music that brought -- brought to my friends and i together. it was about community, social function. so i think one of the nice things about american music is that it's not mired in all this talk about genius and the cannon and beethoven and hide and mozart, and they are valuable because they are beethoven, and mozart. it's really more how the music functions in our lives. how these cultural institutions shaped our musical experience. what does music do for us as a society? those questions were almost easier to ask in the world of jazz, african american communities, because music was so clearly about the civil rights movement. so i think i gravitated towards american studies because it was really about trying to explain music in my own light. i was here. >> totally, yeah. you know, thinking about the
book and then this interest and contemporary music, and work that brings people together, when you started investigating the national anthem, not when you started, but at what point in your investigation did you realize i could write a whole book about it? i mean it's a pretty comprehensive exploration, but i don't know that the average person would think that you could write a 300 and some odd page book. yeah, no, that is really a great question. i started out with questions my students had. about the hendricks performance where did this on come from? what did it sound like originally? who wrote it, why? where did the music come from? that is the origin story. actually i found the 1814 original sheet music.
i got a group of students together. we recorded it in the way that francis khaki would've known. then i started running into other lyrics that are some to the national anthem. i didn't know there were any. doing more and more research, ten alternate lyrics became 70 alternately rick became 575 alternate lyrics. i realized, the star-spangled banner -- like a person who had been present at all of these pivotal moments in american history. the melody was there at the revelation. the song was born in the war of 1812. the civil war, the song with the rallying cry of the union. it was there for the suffrage movement, it was there for what one. it was there for the civil rights movement. it was there at the bicentennial when i was a kid! it had lived the 200-year scope of history. when you start to think of the song not just at the moments of birth, who created it and why? you start to think of it as a
character, a historical actor that is present throughout two centuries of american history you realize that there is just a ton there. most history projects i sort of feel like you are trying to find the needle in the haystack. this book was much more like trying to figure out the hay. there was too much information! trying to make sense of it all was really the challenge. in some ways it very clearly became a book project very quickly. >> speaking of just making sense of it, the book is beautifully chunked. you somehow managed to go chronologically through the revelation of the anthem but also put it in these ninth systematic groups. it really helps folks like me understand the way that it has changed and add some context. i wonder if you would, right now, do that.
walk us through, essentially, what is in the book and what gets covered. >> what an excellent question. i have some power point slides designed just for this. and jennifer had some songs to sing to share just for this! >> oh wow! >> exactly. >> bring jennifer into this. i would say just a cute offstage, off-script moment where doing the warm-up staying out onstage. goes back into the hallway and says, this is such a horrible melanated thing. it's such a mess! anyway, -- >> there is more to it than that. >> leading into it i just want you to appreciate the artistry and the vocal demands that she will exhibit onstage. we are all here for you. thank you so much for performing. >> there will be community participation. if you do not have a hand out,
maybe emily can pass them out. they are out there on the table. if you need one for the lyrics that will be really helpful. >> let me just run through a little bit of the chapter structure of the book. i really think of it as an american history in a song. inspired by my students, but there is really a ton of new original research here. this was sort of surprising in a way, there's so much new stuff to find out about the song. this not only is a whole book about the song, it is actually the fifth book about the song. the head of the music division of the library of congress wrote the first book, i think in 1909. did it for the centennial of the song in 1914. there's a book in 2014. that actually allowed me to structure the book the medically rather than worrying so much about the blow by blow chronological history. the chapters are in sort of a rough chronological order but
they're really trying to focus on an idea not just on the events. it tries to have some sort of big picture arguments about the significance of music in our lives. the importance of music education. the different ways in which patriotism can function. i think that is one of the reassuring things about the current political moment. as it turns out we have been yelling at each other about politics for a long time! this moment is not without its precedent. the song is really a living thing. i talk about it more as a verb than a noun. something that we do rather than something that we just contemplate. it is less a sacred icon then it is a living, democratic process. at least that is the comparison i make. there are nine chapters with a prelude. but for some talks about riding the anthem, where the music came from which no one has really dug into to the depth. the whole tradition of
political songwriting in america. turns out this is a really common thing to do, writing things about topical events. >> professor blake, anthem, do you mind just setting the table for us a little bit. just doing the basic definition work on what is an anthem. >> i don't know if i address that in the book, at all. and anthem is, i think it is, in a way, a song that calls the community together. there are different kinds of anthems. you can have a school anthem, a club anthem, there can be civic anthems at times. national anthem, interesting lee, is a relatively recent phenomenon. we think about it in this sacred way. like it must have been here forever. most of my students on the first day of class if i asked him when the anthem was written they say 1776. for them, the country in the anthem are one in the same. therefore it must have been here in the beginning. you couldn't have a country without an anthem! in many ways the u.s. anthem is
modeled on, god save the king. those have then become models internationally. nobody really cared about anthems, a sonic signature of the nation until the later part of the 19th century. the first people who cared were people in the navy. they would be put on a ships, a lot of ships had bands. they would make a port of call in spain, africa, wherever. they would be a ceremony where the captain of the ship would meet the local mayor. they will be this moment of interchange between the two countries. having a musical way of introducing and sculpting that ceremony, that ritual, each nation needed to have its musical signature. until you had transportation that brought people from different nations into communication with each other you really didn't need anthems. you knew everybody, right?
the people in your community where your neighbors. you met them at the grocery store. you met them at the town hall. as the country have gotten bigger, as the world has gotten smaller, the need for anthems grows. it serves a kind of -- pro active function of making us feel like we are part of the same thing, right? one of the big arguments in the book is there are different kinds of patriotism. what i am talking about songs, a critical patriotism, protesters actually patriotic. complaining about the country, asking it to be different. giving a vision for the country that is different than it is. it's a act of love, an active devotion. that is what i argue francisco kyi did, right? anthems in away have become more urgent more recently. it was really world war i as a pivot point. one of the anecdotes in the book, i try to celebrate ann
arbor whenever i can. there is an anecdote in that michigan football stadium during world war i, french diplomats are visiting the city. get support all the way across the united states. they play the marquee as. the machine can marching band plays and answers the star-spangled banner, as it months, immediately after. there is an empathy of hearing the song from another country. war tends to bring out a moment of crisis when anthems think about the ukrainian national anthem i never heard it before and now you heard all the time it is being played by ensembles in the united states as a way of communicating empathy communicating crisis or the familiarity with people that we may have never met the musical symbol creates a identity, a communicator humanity. anthems sort of brings emotions
into national identity. i think that is why the music is so important. let's talk a little bit about the writing of the national anthem. it comes from the battle of baltimore. september 13th to 14th and 1814. francisco key is a lawyer. not particularly a major figure in american history. he is a lawyer, living in the district of columbia, in georgetown a doctor's taken prisoner, his name is william baines. key is chosen by president madison to be one of the people to negotiate his release. key, in some ways, is chosen because he is expendable. he is not a general, he is not an important soldier, he doesn't have another role. he is very well spoken, very well respected for his oratory, he has argued cases in front of the supreme court. he is a player in the political scene that is georgetown. he goes in witnesses about of baltimore. i tell the story in great to
tail in chapter one. basically he is trapped aboard a ship. the british had, the month before, burned washington d.c. to the ground. not the whole city but all of the federal buildings. it was revenge for the americans burning the city of york earlier in the war of 1812. york is essentially modern-day toronto. britain is trying to embarrass the united states. show that their military was not a strong as the british military. they had bomb ships. these bomb ships where the most sophisticated weaponry of the naval age. they parked about three miles outside of fort mchenry. the guns of four mchenry only shot about a mile and a half. they literally could just bomb it will. they assumed it would only be a matter of hours before fort mchenry fell. that would allow the british navy to go into baltimore harbor and attacked the city of senses from behind.
simultaneously, a land saw. they thought they would pretty much defeat baltimore as easily and they had defeated washington d.c.. the miracle, the heroism of those defending for henry. those who held their ground in really a hopeless situation. they couldn't fight back. all they could do was hold the fort to prevent the british from taking. it miraculously, the british bombs were not effective. some of them even went through the powder magazine in the four and that bomb didn't go off! so when hetheir heroism or is re bravery to stay. when key is celebrating the land of the free and the home of the brave, he's really talking about the defenders of fort mchenry. which is the original name of the song. he, being a poet, one of the original things to try to do in the book is correct with the points of mythology. that he was a prisoner on a british it. he was on his american, unarmed ship the entire time. another part of the myth's he
writes the song in instantaneity flash of inspiration. he sees the flag next morning and the whole -- in fact, he was stuck on the ship for 72 hours. all day wednesday, thursday, he doesn't leave until friday night. part of what i'm arguing is the lyric of the star-spangled banner is a carefully constructed propaganda piece. it is actually his vision for the nation. it is, in a way, and protest song from the very beginning. it talks about a strong nation being able to defend itself at a time when our own capital buildings have been burned to the ground by the enemy. this is a real low point in american history. >> it marks a low point in american history. i must say, you in packing this bit highlights this book is really history bruce aung. just like all you learned, it's the basics of the american revolution and the birth -- maybe not the birth of the nation but at least early days
when we are figuring things out. it is an interesting read that way. >> yeah, no, part of what made it hard for me to write what took me so long was i had to basically study all of american history. the song was present throughout all the different moments. i do think -- the story is really the story of a constant continual becoming. the democratic experiment is something that is always happening. it's a wonderful thing this long tells us, it has to be performed as we will hear in a second. it is brought alive a new over and over again. it is never something we take for granted. and always has to have this human interaction, this emotion, this passion, to make it real. in a way, that becomes an allegory for the country as a whole, right? one of the challenges of patriotism is when we look at something that we can inherit, whether we are born into or something we have automatically
as opposed to something we earn through civic action. citizenship is not a thing you just get. it is something that you learn by working in being part of the democracy. being part of the community. this is the original sheet music for the star-spangled banner. it is from 1814. it is the most valuable piece of sheet music in the history of music. the last time it was told was 2010. a little bit of inflation since then, it's old for half 1 million dollars in 2010. we have one piece, an example of this. there is only about ten or 12 that survived the original thousand or so that were printed. one of them is at the clements library here in our ann arbor. this is the copy of the star-spangled banner. it is a little different in the 1814 style that we've seen today. one argument make is there is no actual original star-spangled banner. it always changes. one of the things that changes
is in the 19th century and actually takes longer to sing the spurs bangle banner than it does today. they sang the last two lines twice. oh say can you see -- its first saying by soloist, a skilled singer. someone who can hit all the high notes. then the audience, the crowd, the community echoes back and firms that last line. and not a performance, it is a dialogue, right? you guys francis got keys friends in 1814 at the premier. the original version. the last line will happen twice. jennifer will sing it and then we will all sing it together. >> on original instruments, of course. >> yes. ♪ ♪ ♪ >> oh say can you see by the
dawn's early light what so proudly we hailed at the twilight's last gleaming. whose bright stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight for the ramparts we watched were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ ♪ and the rockets red glare the bombs bursting in air gave proof through the night that our flags were still there ♪ ♪ ♪ oh say can that bar spangled and near yet wave o'er the land of the free and the home of the brave. how has i does that star-spangled banner yet wave
or the land of the free and the home of the brave. ♪ ♪ ♪ [applause] >> nice job. >> easy peasy. [laughs] >> is it really hard saying? that is what everybody says. >> it is not super generous for the voice. it asks things that other anthems and hands don't ask, right? it starts out within our peggi asian. who wants to sing that who is just a joe schmo on the street at a baseball game?
however, as a professional singer i'm like, look at the range! the way it hovers when we are very excited. that is not comfortable. it is an octave and a half, slightly more than an octave and a half. no one ever knows where to start it. you may have experienced yourself. low, that is the key. start it low. if you start really blow you can take the high octave at the end. it doesn't -- it kind of -- there are places where it wants to slow down, it wants to speed up, it doesn't have the regularity you would expect that makes it easy and self-explanatory. it is very cool, it allows for lots of personal and cultural expression. it is not easy! as we all known.
>> so, part of what i interpreted that and this is it is not easy to be in a democracy. >> nice. >> it requires an act of heroism to sing the song. that is sort of symbolic, in in of itself. >> i like that. >> i do think the music is essential to the success. and takes a type of commitment. it has an athletic, ballsy, kind of -- it takes a real commitment to pull it off. you can't shy way from it and make the song work. and takes personal commitment. there is a way in which i think that is part of why the song has been so successful. in times of crisis, times of war, you need people to make a commitment to the country, this song is inspiring. a song like god save the king or queen, it doesn't really get individuals motivated, right? god save the king or queen, part of it is, do whatever the
king says. when the king says, go to war, you go to war. the kings that so. and this country the idea of the militia was it with all free volunteers. he really had to inspire individuals to make the commitment. part of the reason this song was so successful is it encourage people to make that commitment. >> and your case you talked about the song as a verb. i think about the performance of it, the pageantry around it. everything that goes with it. this heroism, this it is heroic in nature. when it is played in sporting events, there is a part where everyone starts to clap before it's over. everyone is worked up, people cheering for the singer, maybe in a way, for the country. could you say a little bit more about that aspect -- the verb-ness of it.
the way that people perform it. not necessarily the singer, but the listener, even. >> i make one interesting point in the book, which surprised me, i argue that the most important word in the lyric is you, oh say can you see. when i sing it, when i am part of the ritual, it puts you the person in the audience, sometimes the singer, but really collectively, we are called together at the community. we are also called as an individual. oh say can you see? it puts you in the action. are you you are with francis got key trying to see if the flag is still there. the punctuation of the first verse, the only one we ever sing, right? there are four. the end of the first verse and send a question mark. for francis scott key it is
literally, can't is the flag still there? is it there? did the british take it? if the british flag is there and then we lost. if the american flag is there there is still hope. that is the critical question for him. i think the interesting thing about this verbiage, we, in some ways, are asking this question every time we sing it. even in 2022, is the flag and all it represents still there? are we still brave enough to be the land of the free or not? i think if you see it as something that is contingent, something that is at risk, something that requires a commitment. a verb now. it is at stake, right? then that question mark asked us to take action. assets to answer that question. you have to answer that question. if we sing it with an exclamation mark at the end, we are not singing what is written. we sing it sometimes way people treated. a statement of american
exceptionalism. jingoistic, already accomplished, been there done that anthem. celebrating what happened 50 years ago with the greatest generation and world war ii. instead of is it true right now? i think the verb nature makes it really contemporary. that is why the song is a living document brought to life a singers like jennifer. >> great. >> jennifer just sang. >> hey, there you are! >> this is the hannah cree on took song. francis khaki wrote a song he wrote this song to match this melody and jennifer said those high notes ♪ ♪ ♪ that is on the rockets red glare, bombs bursting in air, that is the crisis moment that is what is attacking the four. there is a way in which the arc of the high notes and the resolution, it tells the story.
and has an introduction, rising action, the climax and resolution. it is a novel in burst form. this melody actually came from an earlier time. it came from london, in fact. ironically the composer was john stafford smith, a court composer of george discerned. we are using their anthem. it was written for an amateur musicians club in london it was called the anacreontic society. named after the greek poet anacreon. it seems sort of old and stilted, overly classical. almost like it's latin or greek or something. in 1773 when the song was written, things that were greet were cool! the acropolis was being discovered. we were uncovering all the statues. bring in the back to the british museum. london, the cool classical stuff.
people were fascinated with this! to base a musician and cultural club on a greek poet in the 17 70s was to try to be hip and modern. not to be state and ancient, right? the song is really this upbeat song, the club anthem. it is meant to show off how great the club's, right? it's a fun club! they get together, drink, have a great time. they share stories and they think songs. they host musicians -- they play symphonies. a lot of times this is treated as a kind of drinking song. it's not a pub song, it's a club song. the club had 400 people who listen to symphony concerts, played the harpsichord. it's not like the typical london pub. it celebrates male fraternity and -- it celebrates to get the myth. we will hear jennifer saying this. she will bring the verve and
excitement to the club. there is another participation. we have the first and last versus of the song. it tells this classical story of joe, apollo, after dietary, -- they're all around in the story, creating the club. there are the answers, echoes of the verses. we will do the echo of the verse, again. it is the club president, in this case, jennifer, singing for us, the members. we echo back those last few lines. you can see in the sixth worse, we will skip the other ones in the interest of time. you are actually supposed to join hands with the people next to you. to show that we are all in the club together. the last land echo in a weird can weigh the declaration of independence. life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. we are together, we will take care of each other, we will make the world better place. take it away.
but in an excellent way. the echo of the club's membership and the president was an important way that the song function in. it gets adapted of the american public a song in 1773, long before francis got key writes the anthem lyrics in 1814. the first one who really makes it famous from 1798. it is responding to the quasi-war in france. it is supporting john adams in the war with france. early american politics is better whether you are pro english report french. if you are pro french you are democratic republican your hanging out thomas different. if you are pro english you are hanging out with john adams and the federalists. this song is likely what inspires him and makes him aware of this melody. it is really running like wildfire throughout american culture, right? i think everybody can sing
happy birthday, everyone can sing take me on to the ball game. everyone could saying anacreontic. in order to talk about the the political events of the day you would write about it in the newspaper. if you want to get peoples emotion involved, if you wanted to get their commitment and doing something, you would set it as a song. he put the ideas and the emotion together. . but yourself back a little bit. no television, no youtube, no tweets. in fact, there is a lot of music but you have to make it yourself. you sing in a church. you were used to people making music around you. you could read in the newspaper these various lyrics. it would tell you a hint of what particular tonight should be some two. the anacreontic lyric was very distinctive. it had a line stanzas but it had nine rhymes. in the anacreontic song, voice,
fiddle, and flew no longer be mute. i will lend you my name and inspire you to boot. and the star-spangled its rocket's red glare, bombs bursting in air, gave proof through the night that our flag was still air. three rhymes into lines. that is the distinctive and unique feature of these anacreontic lyrics. that help me trace them. it's based on the broadside ballads. the notion of the town crier singing in town singing. it's not about the news, it's not about the facts, it's about the feelings. you have music, word sentimentality. you want to know what the emotional import of the news. you didn't want to know, did we win the battle of baltimore. why does it matter? what does it feel like? does it feel like, well, maybe we are finally in a real country. that is really what keys lyrics
are telling us. there are literally hundreds and thousands of these lyrics. in fact part of what is needed in the book is i found 575 sets of lyrics song in american history to the tune that we only remember as the singular star-spangled banner. >> when you think about those 575 lyrics and you think of 100 years in the future do you see anything changing? the single word tweaks? the malady staying the same but a completely new set of lyrics? what is your historical perspective tell you and also just your sense of it being a living anthem? >> yeah, that is a great question. if you line these up from the first to last the first one is 1798 was a manuscript it wasn't published until 1951. the next one was published in
1793. there are about 170 of them and then you get the star-spangled banner. you get a conversation about the country. he is not starting a conversation. we think of the star-spangled banner as a unique thing. it's actually part of a tradition. the next 300 of them are actually the 19th century. in the 20th and 21st century there's actually a lot fewer of them. there are sporadic ones about the moon landing and things like that. interestingly enough, since the internet they have sort of come back. the most recent ones i have in the book are from 2021. they're about the election of joe biden. we have some about trump, obama, george bush. these are posted to these parity humor sites. people complaining about the high cost of mortgages too --
all of these are written to the tune of what we know as the star-spangled banner. the lyric of not only brought off or versus back but this tradition in bringing the parity back. it's not just the word chasing, it's how you singing. a recent franklin singing it, mariah carey singing it, roseanne barr, unfortunately, singing it. that style also adds a layer. being able to say, i belong. people like me part of this history. we are part of america. you can say that with stylistic accidents. or the gospel tinge that whitney houston brings to what is probably the greatest ever version in the super bowl in 1990. >> that is what we are seeing in the evolution. the approach, less the actual words or the fundamental core
melody. >> i certainly like to find the people or writing new lyrics again. i am interesting in trying to track down all of them. for me, what's interesting is when people give something that is perceived to nontraditional or offensive, there is a claim that says we need a law that you can only sing it this way. whatever desecration have been witnessed. for me it never really threatens a song. are rethe anthem is still the a. people still know the constellation of really -- when people read things as sincere, they're heard us traditional. regardless of how non traditional. when houston does not saying a traditional anthem. she adds an extra beat. there's also to added gospel elements. but people are like, that is the tradition. that is what the anthem should be. it sounds like you're going into church. she makes it feel like her
commitment to the country's a sacred bond. people resonate with that feeling. even though, musical.ly, it is not at all like jennifer just saying it. jennifer saying three beats per bar, not for. for a performer or a dancer it is like switching from the walls to a cha-cha. it is really weird, right. >> you pointing that out is the most mind-blowing thing. you know that something is different -- but it's in for four time. oh, that's the reason why. it's really fascinating. it has been interesting to critically think about the way that people have saying it and broken rules and traditions along the way. related to the lyrics, thinking about juneteenth being two days from now there is the use of the word slave in keys lyrics. i wonder if you just might say
a word about, not even just that, but how you handled it portraying him as a figure that was a slave owner. was an advocate for -- did not like abolitionists. there is complexity to who he as a person. how you approached both servicing that complexity and, in a way, why you thought he needed to surface the complexity. >> this is the biggest struggle for me in writing the book. at one point chapter four of the book was really just a whole biography for francisco key. trying to figure out who he was. my editor was like your book is about the song, not the guy, right? i had to find another way in. chapter a it's called anthem and black lives. trying to deal with what happened when colin kaepernick no. for me i was so excited he had
the courage for the protest. first three had the word slave in. for a lot of americans makes the verse off limits. it doesn't feel like a unifying song. it portrays one of the most horrific aspects of american history. francis got key owned slaves. he also, remarkably, was the most active lawyer in the district of columbia filing lawsuits of african americans suing for their freedom. he filed over 106 lawsuits. he was directly responsible for 178 more people. he is not a major plantation owner. he owns his family's estate because, basically, he had to buy it at auction to prevent his family from being turned out of its homestead. there were people who were part of the property of the state. his wife, polly, was from one of the largest slave owning
families and maryland. in fact, her brother owned frederick douglass for part of his childhood. francis gawkies nephews was one of frederick douglass's playmates. if you know his biography, being allowed in the household, learning to write. it is amazing how involved he is in american history. one of the things about american history is it doesn't fit the current simplification. it does not fall into good guys and bad guys credit easily and maybe we would like it to. we certainly know after the civil war which side you are supposed to be on which side you are supposed to. beyond francisco kyi was clearly not on that side. he was, he was looking for a solution -- a pragmatic solution to slavery that could be done legally. could be done carefully. basically wouldn't hurt anybody. trying to avoid the civil war.
beyond the first 50 or 60 years of our history was based on this, kind of, ill begun compromise, right? to make a land of the free also a land of slavery. key was struggling with that. i look he's ideas, he's actually pretty serious about this. he created something called the national liberation society. atlanta the creation of iberian. he wanted to find a middle ground between abolition and slavery. free individuals, take them out of the united states. it is inherently racist. they are not people from africa, they are racist. saying you can be free but you have to go away was wrong. it was also the law of the land in much of the country. if you were in virginia and we wanted to free them person that you own somehow. you could not do it unless you took them out of the state of virginia. that was the law in virginia.
it was a pragmatic solution to a political problem at that moment. we are dealing with also to problems today -- transgender rights, all these things where really the critical question is is this a person with full rights or not? although it is hard to understand a person who could be on both sides of the slavery issue in 1814. against abolition but against slavery. to be someone who owns people but also fighting for their freedom in court, to me it is a little more related but when you put it in the contacts of the vexed issues of today. someone who is coming across the border, today deserve to be put into a cage and deported or do they deserve something else? what does it mean to be a person in the united states? i think that, in a way, the same struggles of who was a citizen, who is free, who gets writes, that is the same struggle we are having now. for a brief window we solved it
with the passage of the 13th, 14th, 15th amendments the ten-year period following the civil war. the compromise of 1876 put us back into the reconstruction period. it led to the black codes in the suppression of rights. the whole separate but equal fallacy. that whole story is part of the story of the star-spangled banner. to me that is part of the value of it. we might want to replace the song at some point. which leads back to your earlier question. the value of the song is the same, to me, is the value of american history. we can't really understand where we are unless you understand the past. the star-spangled banner has a lot of our history embedded in it. >> i think there's something that's interesting about the fact that everybody knows it, you know? it is so common and familiar. it then allows people to use it for protest. if it just went away, how do you protest? what do you kneel to, what do
you not stand up for, what do you not take your hat off for. in that sense it may be very useful, despite its complexity. >> it creates a social dissidents, right? you see colin kaepernick kneeling you realize something is wrong. there is this moment of unity, and there is someone doing something different. they are saying i'm not feeling like i am part of this group. without the anthem, without that platform, if colin kaepernick yield it wouldn't know that much. the text calls on the word free, that is the high no. that is the value of american life in the constitution. one of the interesting things i wanted to point out was this illustration on the far left. i will sort of skip ahead to this. go a little bit. the civil war i think is a
critical moment in the anthems history. we tend to think of 1931 when herbert hoover signed the bill making anthem official the date that this became the national anthem. it was really july 4th 1861. the july 4th of the first year of the civil war. by law, the number of flags on the -- lincoln does not remove any stars from the flag. no, you cannot leave the country. it is illegal to secede. that is when the star-spangled banner, the flag, becomes the sacred symbol of the union. and the sonic sort of tied to the flag. they are in a sin bionic relationship. the flag, the star-spangled banner, it is sacred. it is the sacrifice of blood to end slavery in keep the country
united is what makes it so important american life. in 18 -- they're 17 states and 15 stars nobody cares! it's not an important symbol. it's only used by the navy, the military. people do not have flags and on their homes. it's not on the schools. that is a post civil war thing. this particular irony between a song that celebrates freedom and a land where, 1861, 4 million people are enslaved which leads to the publication of this lyric. oh say do you hear, an anti slavery song sung to the tune of the star-spangled banner which trades on the irony of, land of the free, when it is not true. this particular piece of paper is in this building. published in ann arbor in 1874 by an abolitionist paper that was right down where the lower
town area is. that was the home of the signal of liberty newspaper. this particular piece of paper was found in this building. thank you to the ann arbor library. >> mark, i would call that a wonderful surprise for readers to learn about that connection of the national anthem and the evolution, the iteration of the lyrics to ann arbor. probably a moment of pride, also knowing what it was trying to comment on. as the book has come out -- we are getting close to time. as you just said a fantastic in your time review. not everybody gets reviewed, more on. not everyone gets a glowing reviews. to have those two things is really special. i wonder if you think about, what is covered in the review. people who have read the book, what's surprised you about what
people have noticed or picked up? something that has grabbed people? >> that's a great question. the thing that has please me that i tried so hard with the book was to make it real history with facts and details and a lot of original research. still make it a story. something you can relate to something it doesn't take a ph.d. to get through the text. even some of the people in this room who saw early drafts and looked at me puzzled like what the heck are you writing? my editor was constantly saying, no. it has to be shorter. it has to be shorter. that is actually a great discipline. i was trying to write a book for everybody not just a book for musicologists. musical historians. >> do you feel like you covered but you needed to cover about the star-spangled banner in this book? is there some chunk that some next researcher some future scholar will say, mark completely missed this bit.
or, mark had to leave this out. now already book about. do you feel like it's pretty comprehensive? >> it is very comprehensive. i hope it will inspire people to look for more of these lyrics. i'm sure more will appear. there will be a future protest, i'm sure. things will happen. i think this book, i hope, will be a platform to understand that. i don't think it is over with. there's not much that i left out. the one thing that paint me, one of the very last things that had to cut. wall whitman wrote one of these alternate lyrics to the star-spangled banner. it has never been published in a book, recently. it was published in the 18 teens, 19 -- no? when was the published? in the middle there. when he was alive! writing in new york for the brooklyn paper. it must have been the 1850s. i really wanted to include that because i just said i thought that it legitimize this
practice. a favorite poet, what women, did it. that one was caught on the floor. that one hurt. >> the focus to this conversation has been about the star-spangled banner. certainly people have found ways to use other songs as unifiers in times of crisis or upliftment. as a lead into us exploring our wrap up, one of those songs -- i wonder if you might help us land there by talking about the role of god bless america, lift every voice and sing, alongside the star-spangled banner. what they mean, what they are trying to address that the star-spangled banner doesn't? thoughts on those two? >> you can think about the
star-spangled banner that all repertory. god bless america my country tons of the. battle hymn of the republic. i think there are certain moments in american history that crystallized the songs for the nation. another one is lift every voice and sing. unfortunately we've been hearing that more and more over the last couple years. a trace some really interesting performances of the star-spangled banner that layer the black voices anthem, lift every voice and sing. written for abraham lincoln in 1900 by school in florida. -- set to music by james amber johnson. and it being a songwriting team in portland. the harlem renaissance in new york. this song sort of lived within the community. it was not published. it was known within the black church and black school kids for many, many, years. then it became the song of the
naacp. it has really come back recently, at least to my knowledge, over the past few years. it is a song that, again, tells a story. similar to the star-spangled banner. talks about the struggle, talks about the civil war. talks about the human sacrifices that african americans to really hold the ideal to account, right? to demand that the country live up to its intangibles. something like a bus america is an interesting counterpart that. not considered as a candidate for the national anthem. usually people when they talk to me about alternative they want america the beautiful as another anthem. it is a beautiful song. it's a great song. it's a great peacetime anthem. one thing i observed historically is and times of crisis or times of war it is really the star-spangled banner that people need. it's the comfort and america the beautiful that works well
in times of peace and lots of time to crisis. god bless america does not consider because it had already been decided my argument was early 1861 is deciding it a bit was passed the 1931. globalism erica does not get non-even though it does exist in the early version -- and it made famous by case matheson in 1938. it is seven years after the star-spangled banner's made the -- the other problem with goblets america is still under copyright. that creates problems when you taught you something and also to free ways to bring people together. you pay a fee every time we performed, that is another issue. to and do you want to sing? >> yes, one. let's do that, but first we want to thank you. thank you for giving the nation in the book, this history, this resource that will live on as
long at the star-spangled banner does. be a resource as long as the song exists. thank you. congratulations. jennifer, thank you for taking us on a musical journey. super solid! folks, if you do not already have a copy fine the folks at literati right outside of the room and get your copy. if you do have a copy, get another for a friend, a relative, perfect time for a good midsummer read. certainly would like to thank the folks literati and the ann arbor library for hosting this. to some of the things, they ann arbor connections that you mentioned it really nice what we can do that here in your hometown. thank you so much. you have lift every voice and seeing on your sheets. on the flip side the side that you are on afterwards we will
applaud and you will find mark if you have questions or if you want to question or comment or get a book sign thank you so much for coming. >> this traditional song of lift every voice and sing. ♪ ♪ ♪ lift every voice and saying to earth and have been raining. rings with the harmonies of liberty let our rejoicing rise. high as the listening skies let
our rejoicing runs high as the rolling sea. saying a song full of the faith that the dark past has taught us ♪ ♪ ♪ sing a song full of the hope that the president has brought us ♪ ♪ ♪ facing the rising sun of our new day begun ♪ ♪ ♪ let us march on till victory is won ♪ ♪ ♪ [applause] >> thank you everyone, thank you mark. >> c-span now and a free mobile app featuring your unfiltered
view of what is happening in washington. life and undermanned. keep up with the biggest event on live streams and congress lachine events the court campaigns and more. you can also stay current with the latest episodes of washington journal and find scheduling information for c-span's scheduling networks and a propriety of podcast. c-span now is available at the apple store in google play. download it for free today. c-span now, your front row seat to washington. anytime, anywhere. hundred president john adams ultimately lost to vice president thomas jefferson. and while the as many of you know the most divisive, perhaps one of the most divisive elections was the election of 1800. president john adams ultimately lost to vice president thomas jefferson, and while the transfer of power was ultimately peaceful, adams did forego his