But nothing was more memorable then the occasions when we would sing the official state song on special school and celebratory occasions, "Carry Me Back to Old Virginny." It was a beautiful song, written by a former slave, James Bland, about his love of the beautiful state despite his background and status as a slave there. He wrote in his later years as a free man about how he loved the beauty of the corn, potatoes and cotton growing in the fields and the sweet singing of songbirds that filled his ears and heart with joy. Bland wrote the song in the cold bleak winter in New York City. His body may have been in New York, but his soul was back in Old Virginny where he was born. And the words that were later deemed offensive in the 1990s and caused the song to removed as the official state song were his own words and they added so much meaning to to the story it told. And so, Carry Me Back, which had been the official state song since 1940 by legislative action was retired, supposedly honored by its status as the state song emeritus, which really meant it was placed in the dusty archives to be forgotten. The earlier stages of political correctness had taken their toll as cowardly legislators rushed to action, just another blow to history, and with it, the end of a beautiful song.
As I sadly think about it, I think it's worthwhile to pull out and reproduce the words for all to see. If you love Virginia or history, I think any reader with an unbiased mind would see where Mr. Bland was going with his song and I think you will get a positive vibe. And somehow, some way, I believe that the dear departed Mr. Bland is probably smiling as he sees his beautiful lyrics in print, so here they are.
CARRY ME BACK TO OLD VIRGINNY
Carry me back to old Virginny,
There's where the cotton and the corn and taters grow,
There's where the birds warble sweet in the springtime,
There's where this old darkey's heart am long'd to go,
There's where I labored so hard for old massa,
Day after day in the field of yellow corn,
No place on earth do I love more sincerely
Than old Virginny, the state where I was born.
Have a wonderful and blessed day. Real history tells an honest story and when we try to water it down or change it, it loses its purpose and we make the same mistakes over and over again. History always shows it will repeat itself if we don't even know where it has been.