TLS Podcast Picks: Francis Scott Key, Pro-Slavery Police-State Thug

Recommended podcasts:

  • Francis Scott Key and the Forgotten Washington Race Riot of 1835, KERA Think (Aug. 9, 2012). “What role did ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ lyricist Francis Scott Key play in preserving slavery? We’ll talk this hour with Jefferson Morley, former Washington correspondent for Salon and author of the new book Snow-Storm in August: Washington City, Francis Scott Key, and the Forgotten Race Riot of 1835.” This is a fascinating interview. The book sounds great. Key, known for the nauseating, jingoistic, nationalist Star Spangled Banner, was a wheeler-dealer lawyer-politician who parlayed his fame with the song into Washington power, and was finally recruited by Andrew Jackson to help suppress the growing anti-slavery movement in Washington, D.C. He jumped into the job with zeal, arresting and prosecuting people who wrote in favor of abolition or slaves’ rights—by charging them with sedition or libel (or seditious libel). Another evil “patriot” (like Washington who conscripted slaves, used his slave’s teeth for his false teeth, shot deserters, killed tax rebels, and so on). Next time you see “patriots” putting hand over heart to the “Star Spangled Banner,” remind them of the scoundrel fascist who wrote it. He makes Emma Lazarus seem heroic.