- This event has passed.
My Old Kentucky Home: An Event with Author Emily Bingham
June 1 @ 6:30 pm - 7:30 pm
Join Kentucky author Emily Bingham as she reads from and discusses her new release, My Old Kentucky Home: The Astonishing Life and Reckoning of an Iconic American Song.
How did a minstrel song about the slave trade become a beloved melody, a celebratory anthem, and an integral part of American folklore and culture? Acclaimed historian Emily Bingham’s new book explores the compelling history of Stephen Foster’s 1853 “My Old Kentucky Home,” which tried to present slavery as carefree while also telling a wrenching story of a man sold to die in the sugarcane fields of the Deep South. The song—for years sung by white men in blackface entertaining white audiences—was a sensation and has been with us ever since.
For almost two centuries, its lyrics and meaning have been protested, altered, mythologized in thousands of performances, and enshrined as the state song of Kentucky. Every year at the world’s most important horse race, the Kentucky Derby, “My Old Kentucky Home” is sung by tens of thousands of nostalgic fans, almost all of them unknowingly conjuring a mythic version of a brutal past.
My Old Kentucky Home unearths performances, recordings, and protests, tracing one song’s entrance into the bloodstream of American life and through to its twenty-first century reassessment. This revelatory account of how a melody can be so memorable but also so formed by forgetting is a story for a country yearning for healing.
Please register for this in-person event. A book signing will follow with copies available for purchase from Poor Richard’s Books. For more information, contact Diane Dehoney at email@example.com.