The third verse of the National Anthem isn’t very popular with Melvin Carter III, the newly elected mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota.
In fact, he believes the lesser known verse imbues the entire song as an ode to slavery. In his inaugural speech, he makes his stance on the matter abundantly clear when he has the anthem played in its entirety.
The Independent Journal Review reports the following:
“The new mayor of St. Paul, Minnesota, had strong words against the national anthem during his inaugural speech to the city. He did allow the song to be played — but on one condition: All of the verses, not just the first, be played.
The Pioneer Press reported Mayor Melvin Carter’s III reasoning for playing the entire song was so the rarely heard third verse would be heard.
The verse goes as follows:
And where is that band who so vauntingly swore
That the havoc of war and the battle’s confusion,
A home and a country, should leave us no more?
Their blood has washed out their foul footsteps’ pollution.
No refuge could save the hireling and slave
From the terror of flight, or the gloom of the grave:
And the star-spangled banner in triumph doth wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave.
Carter said the anthem, with the third verse specifically, is an “ode to slavery.”
“We cannot ignore the painful reminder, written into our anthem’s third verse, of just how deeply injustice is rooted in the American tradition…Our national freedom song is an ode to slavery,” he said.”