Philadelphia Flyers remove Kate Smith statue over racism allegations

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The Philadelphia Flyers removed a statue of the late singer Kate Smith outside the NHL team’s arena on Sunday, two days after covering it amid allegations of racism against the 1930s star who made a popular recording of God Bless America.

“The NHL principle ‘Hockey is for Everyone’ is at the heart of everything the Flyers stand for,” Flyers president Paul Holmgren said in a statement. “As a result, we cannot stand idle while material from another era gets in the way of who we are today.”

On Friday, the Flyers said Smith’s God Bless America recording had been removed from their library. The New York Yankees had made a similar move earlier in the week. The Yankees suspended use of Smith’s recording during the seventh-inning stretch amid conflicting claims about several of her songs, including a 1939 song That’s Why the Darkies Were Born. The tune originated in the 1931 Broadway revue George White’s Scandals, and was considered satire at the time. Smith’s likeness also appears in a 1939 ad that heavily uses the mammy caricature, one of the most well-known racist depictions of black women.

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