A 106-year-old monument to Francis Scott Key, author of the poem “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which would later become the national anthem, was found vandalized Wednesday morning in Baltimore with the words “racist anthem” spray painted on it.
The incident occurred exactly 203 years after Key wrote the poem, the Baltimore Sun notes.
— Colin Campbell (@cmcampbell6) September 13, 2017
City police are investigating, and the local Commission for Historical Art and Architectural Preservation is expected to evaluate how to clean the monument. Yet a spokesman for Mayor Catherine Pugh admitted that it would be difficult to prevent successive acts of vandalism.
“We can’t ensure it’s not going to happen again,” Anthony McCarthy said. “We understand the freedom of expression, but there certainly has to be a more constructive and productive way to have a conversation about history.”
Key wrote the poem while being held captive by the British in a ship off the coast of Fort McHenry during the War of 1812.
Watch local residents react to the incident, courtesy of the Baltimore Sun.