Songs are a part of history Editor:

I am heart-broken to read that Stephen Foster’s songs are being removed from the Cedar Rapids schools. The earliest folk music has its roots in slave fields. Black people sang songs written by Stephen Foster, known as “The Father of American Music.” His songs were sung in minstrel shows, which he hated and thought vulgar due to black-face performances. He wrote 236 songs in all, “Down by the Riverside,” “Camptown Races,” “My Old Kentucky Home,” “Beautiful Dreamer,” etc. These songs provided a way for slaves to escape their daily drudgery. Though some lyrics were what today is thought to be racist, it is so very wrong to wipe away this important part of Black history which has contributed strongly to everyone’s musical history.

The songs were rewritten to remove racist elements, yet “woke” people are removing these precious songs from our lives. Foster’s songs give us a way to truly empathize with the bitter struggle that slaves endured. Hearing and singing these songs in elementary school made me feel the Blacks’ pain and made me very aware of the struggle that black people endured. The songs made me hate the thought of slavery.

Lynne Shaffer


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