The California NAACP is seeking state lawmakers to support its campaign to remove “The Star-Spangled Banner” as the national anthem, according to The Sacramento Bee.
The Bee on Tuesday reported that the California NAACP passed a resolution at its state conference last month aimed at the song’s removal.
The resolution urges Congress to rescind “one of the most racist, pro-slavery, anti-black songs in the American lexicon” in “The Star-Spangled Banner.”
The California NAACP is now circulating the measure among the state’s legislative offices before lawmakers there return to the Capitol in Sacramento in January.
A second resolution the group also passed in October voices support for former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem in 2016 to protest America’s racial injustice, helping launch the gesture as a recurring display in the National Football League (NFL).
“We owe a lot of it to Kaepernick,” California NAACP President Alice Huffman said. “I think all this controversy about the knee will go away when the song is removed.”
Huffman added that Congress should find a replacement for “The Star-Spangled Banner” that is “not another song that disenfranchises part of the American population.”
The NFL’s anthem protests have drawn attention to a rarely-sung third verse from the current anthem.
“Their blood has wash’d out their foul footstep’s pollution,” it says. “No refuge could save the hireling or slave. From the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.”
Some interpretations of the lyrics have concluded that they celebrate the deaths of black American slaves who joined British forces during the War of 1812 to secure their freedom.
Francis Scott Key wrote “The Star-Spangled Banner” in 1814, and he was a slave owner who strongly opposed abolition.
Huffman noted she drafted both resolutions this fall after President Trump said in September that the NFL should fire any “son of a b---h” who does not stand for the anthem.
One of the measures calls on Congress to censure Trump for his remarks, and it also asks NFL teams to find a roster spot for Kaepernick.
Kaepernick remains a NFL free agent, leading some to speculate that the organization’s teams have avoided him over controversy surrounding his protest.