Sometimes it takes rank outsiders for us to see the history that’s staring us in the face, or, in this case, a tune that that plays in our heads. Twenty-five years ago, a group of singing Japanese school children and a courageous state legislator exposed the stark insensitivity of Kentucky’s official state anthem.
Listen in as Emily Bingham, a historian with deep Kentucky roots, explores the pre-Civil-War origins of Foster’s world-famous melody, its meaning, and its meteoric popularity. Through the early twentieth century efforts establishing “My Old Kentucky Home’s” official status, and the surprising obsession of a millionaire drug-maker named Lilly, a ubiquitous song many consider merely sentimental came to crystallize memory, loss, home—and a mythical racial past.
As the post parade for Derby 2011 approaches, come hear the full story behind this icon of Kentucky and American popular culture.
Emily Bingham is an independent historian whose book, Mordecai: An Early American Family, tells the story of three generations of Mordecai’s from the Revolution through the Civil War. Bingham received her B.A. from Harvard University and her Ph.D. from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. She writes and teaches in Louisville.
This lecture will begin at 6 p.m. at The Filson Historical Society. There is no cost for this event, though reservations are suggested. You may reserve your seat by visiting www.filsonhistorical.org or by calling The Filson at (502) 635-5083.
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