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<My Old Kentucky Home>

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"My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight"
Start Year : 1852
The original title was "Poor Uncle Tom, Goodnight," written in 1850. "My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight" was published in 1852 by Stephen C. Foster (1826-1864). It was adopted as the Kentucky state song in 1928. The controversial phrase "the darkies are gay" is sometimes replaced with "the people are gay." For more see My Old Kentucky Home, the Stephen Collins Foster Papers in Special Collections, University of Kentucky. (The Guide to the Papers is available from the Kentucky Digital Library.) See also Frank X. Walker, "The Song Doesn't Remain the Same," Ace Weekly, 11/21/02.

Access Interview
See lyrics and score to "My Old Kentucky Home, Goodnight" [.pdf].
Subjects: My Old Kentucky Home
Geographic Region: Kentucky

The Rowan Family
The Federal Hill plantation in Bardstown, KY, is thought to be the location exalted in Stephen Foster's 1852 song, My Old Kentucky Home (sung at University of Kentucky sports events - see on YouTube). Stephen Foster's relative, Judge John Rowan, Sr., owned the plantation. Rowan also represented Kentucky in the U.S. House and Senate; Rowan County was named for him in 1856. Over a century later, Ida Roberts, an African American descendant of the John Rowan family, published the history of the Rowan relatives who were slaves. For more see "Whose Old Kentucky Home?" Louisville Magazine, Sept. 1996; and Rising Above It All: a tribute to the Rowan slaves of Federal Hill, by I. M. K. R. C. Roberts.
Subjects: My Old Kentucky Home
Geographic Region: Bardstown, Nelson County, Kentucky


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