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Music – 1986 – The Stephen Foster Singers – My Old Kentucky Home At The Kentucky Derby


My Old Kentucky Home is an anti-slavery ballad originally written and composed in 1852  by Stephen Foster….which was published in January 1853 by Firth, Pond, & Co. of New York….as Foster likely composed the song after having been inspired by the narrative of popular anti-slavery novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe’s Uncle Tom’s Cabin….while likely referencing imagery witnessed on his visits to the Bardstown, Kentucky farm called Federal Hill.

In Foster’s sketchbook, the song was originally entitled “Poor Uncle Tom, Good-Night!”….but was altered by Foster as “My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!” ….as abolitionist Frederick Douglass wrote in his 1855 autobiography My Bondage and My Freedom that the song “awakens sympathies for the slave, in which antislavery principles take root, grow, and flourish”. 

My Old Kentucky Home at the start of every running of the Kentucky Derby started….which has continued through the present….with this 1986 version being sung by the group known as The Stephen Foster Singers.

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