When Aretha Franklin’s ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Drew a Torrent of Racial Abuse

franklin-2292.png.pngTimothy Burke
08.17.18 12:00 PM ET // When Aretha Franklin’s ‘Star-Spangled Banner’ Drew a Torrent of Racial Abuse

Readers flooded their local newspapers with complaints as well. “Disgraceful and entirely unnecessary,” wrote one; “She jazzed up the singing of it in such a manner that surely made the blood of every true American who heard it boil,” wrote another. “‘Soul’ has its place—where, I’m not sure—but certainly not in the performance of our country’s Anthem,” wrote one Edward C. Goldhill Jr. of Pensacola, while a Warrington, Fla. resident declared that the song had been “degraded and subjected to sacrilege” before continuing:

Yes, give Negroes their rights and opportunities, but let us first be certain they have adequate training and instruction, so that their actions will not be a disgrace and humiliation to all Americans.

Pensacola News Journal, Sept. 1, 1968
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