Philadelphia Flyers Remove Kate Smith Statue Due to Racism Controversy

Kate Smith
AP Photo/The Philadelpia Inquirer/David Maialetti

The Philadelphia Flyers have dismantled the statue of singer Kate Smith, which once stood outside Wells Fargo Center. The Flyers cited concerns over some allegedly racially insensitive songs Smith had sung in the past.

Smith, who was an American staple on the music scene for five decades starting in the 1930s, is famed for her rendition of the patriotic song God Bless America. The contralto’s version of the song has been the quintessential version for decades. But this month the New York Yankees dumped the song because of Smith’s past association with racially problematic themes from back in the 30s and 40s.

Now, the Flyers have followed suit and began removing a statue to the singer who died in 1986, USA Today wrote.

The Flyers began using Smith’s version of God Bless America in the 1970s, and in 1973 the singer made a surprise appearance at the game to sing the song live. The team began to claim the song, and its singer were good luck charms and began regularly playing her rendition at the start of games.

But on Sunday, the Flyers issued a statement disavowing Smith and saying some songs she sang in the 1930s are “incompatible with the values” of the team.

Follow Warner Todd Huston on Twitter @warnerthuston.

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