Dishonoring an American legend: Kate Smith

By JAMES HANAK

Following the lead of the New York Yankees, the famous singer, Kate Smith will no longer be featured at the Philadelphia Flyers games.

Her statue was covered by a tarp and recently was unceremoniously removed.

What was Kate Smith’s sin?

She sang a song that was also sung by a very popular black singer, Paul Robeson who spoke out against racism and became a world activist, entitled, “That’s why darkies were born.”

The words of this song were:

– Someone had to pick the cotton, Someone had to plant the corn, Someone had to slave and be able to sing, That’s why darkies were born;

– Someone had to laugh at trouble, Though he was tired and worn, Had to be contented with any old thing, That’s why darkies were born;

– Sing, sing, sing when you’re weary and Sing when you’re blue, Sing, sing, that’s what you taught All the white folks to do;

– Someone had to fight the Devil, Shout about Gabriel’s Horn, Someone had to stoke the train That would bring God’s children to green pastures, That’s why darkies were born.”

Philadelphia Black Lives Matter activist Asa Khalif said, “We are surprised it took the Flyers this long to catch on,” He said activists had expressed their anger over Smith’s work to the team for more than a year.

In my view and in the view of many others, the message of this song is the exact opposite of “racism.”

This is a song about the plight of the black slave and how he-she overcame the oppression and weariness of slavery.

While some believed that the black man is destined to slavery, the black man learned to laugh at trouble. He learned to sing in the midst of his weariness. With his song(s) he taught the white man to sing as well.

He learned to fight the Devil, Shout about Gabriel’s Horn, and became the instrument that would bring God’s children to green pastures.

The angel Gabriel appears three times in the Bible. He first appeared to Daniel to help him interpret the prophet Daniel’s dream.

The second time Gabriel appeared to Zacharias, the father of John the Baptist to tell him that his son would be the most favored of all men and would foretell and usher in the Messiah.

Gabriel also appeared to Mary to tell her that she would be the virgin mother of God. The Horn (trumpet) of Gabriel most likely is a reference to the Apostle Paul’s letter to the church at Corinth.

In that letter, Paul wrote:

“I tell you a mystery: We will not all sleep, but we will all be changed- in a flash, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trumpet. For the trumpet will sound, the dead will be raised imperishable, and we will be changed… ‘Death has been swallowed up in victory.'” (I Cor. 15:50-55)

So the real reason the “darkies” were born was to stand tall against oppression and to be the voice of God to the world announcing the second coming of the Messiah, Jesus Christ – the one who uniquely has the power and authority to grant life after death in a paradise so grand that our trials and discouragements of this life pale in comparison.

Kate Smith’s many achievements include:

– Kate sold nearly 400,000 pages of sheet music for “God Bless America.”

– Kate was a Grammy Award Winner in 1966 for Best Gospel Album, How Great Thou Art.

– Kate was awarded America’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, by President Ronald Reagan on October 26, 1982.

– Kate Smith was featured on a U.S. commemorative stamp in 2010.

– Smith did a command performance for King George VI and Queen Elizabeth at the White House on June 8, 1939.

– She was the only private citizen ever awarded the Legion of Valor medal.

– She was an honorary member of the Red Cross for which she raised more than $4 million.

Kate’s career came to an end on a high note when she sang her version of “God Bless America” for the Philadelphia Flyers hockey team.

This inspired the team to go on to win two successive Stanley Cups (1974 and 1975).

It is sad but understandable that the Black Lives Matters movement is unable to understand the time or context of a song that — rather than denigrating the black man — in fact elevates him to a position that is pleasing to God.

What is truly sad, however, is that some highly paid, superficial and easily manipulated individuals would bend to the lies of the Black Lives Matters crowd and would dishonor one of America’s greatest good will ambassadors of all time.

Dr. James Hanak is director of American Family Ministries at West Chester, Pa. He can be reached by email at jhanak@palcs.org.

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