Yankees stop using Kate Smith’s recording of ‘God Bless America’ while investigating racism

"The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously."

Kate Smith
May 13, 1975: Kate Smith sings "God Bless America" before an NHL hockey Stanley Cup playoff game between the New York Islanders and the Philadelphia Flyers in Philadelphia. –The Associated Press

NEW YORK (AP) — The Yankees have suspended the use of Kate Smith’s recording of “God Bless America” during the seventh-inning stretch while they investigate an allegation of racism against the singer.

The New York Daily News reported Thursday there are conflicting claims about Smith’s 1939 song “That’s Why Darkies Were Born.” The song originated in the 1931 Broadway review “George White’s Scandals,” and was considered satire. It was recorded by Smith and also by Paul Robeson, who was black.

The team said in a statement: “The Yankees have been made aware of a recording that had been previously unknown to us and decided to immediately and carefully review this new information. The Yankees take social, racial and cultural insensitivities very seriously. And while no final conclusions have been made, we are erring on the side of sensitivity.”

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Smith died in 1986. The Yankees have used her recording of “God Bless America” and sometimes live singers during the seventh inning since the 2001 terrorist attacks.