All of that stated, once again a task that should be simple when taken at face-value has me thinking...and perhaps over-thinking....an issue. Example: I wanted to include the lyrics and a wee bit of history regarding our State Song: the lovely "My Old Kentucky Home" by Stephen Foster. I have thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to hear many varying classic arrangements of this song via the delightful internet and YouTube. Digression: I even found a 1917 recording of the song being sung by Margaret Woodrow Wilson; the record was being sold at the time to raise funds for the Red Cross during WWI! How cool is that?! But then I also found what turned out to be my personal favorite; a recording by the legendary Paul Robeson, an African American who sang the song with its original lyrics referring to "darkies". He sang with so much pathos and sincerity that it is riveting. One school of thought states that the original lyrics were really referring to an abolitionist attempt to expose the plight of slaves at that time, particularly those being sold out of the state of Kentucky into the deep South where life was sure to be even more unbearable, and death was sure to come more quickly. Still.....it's such an uncomfortable topic and has been for so long that the words to the song were long ago changed and younger generations probably have no clue that the line stating "where the people are happy and gay" used to in fact say "where the darkies are happy and gay." The subsequent verses clearly talk more about the life of a slave. Replacing those words with general "people" terms does leave a reader in somewhat a state of confusion. In the context of slavery the whole song makes more sense. When you do a search for the lyrics of the song, you are more likely to find the revised version.
Is it intellectually/historically dishonest to have my children use the revised version in their notebooks and avoid the whole discussion of the controversy? They are ages 5, 7, and 9. Or do I go ahead and tell them what it used to be and what it is now, with as simple an explanation as I can muster?
So you see how I've managed to take a fun summer project and turn it into a full-blown historical debate?!? I really want to strike the balance between honesty, respect, and appropriate subject matter when dealing with these delicate topics. I want my children to know the truth: the question is when?
I would love to hear from all my readers what your opinion is on this. Should I include the original or revised lyrics? Or both?
UPDATE: I wanted to make somewhat of a disclaimer regarding my praise of singer, Paul Robeson. I would encourage my readers to "Google search" his name and read his biography. It is both an American triumph and tragedy. Obviously, he lived in a time in American history where he knew all too well the depth of racial prejudice. A visit to the Soviet Union in the 20's caused him to feel like a fully liberated human being for the first time in his life. Because of that, he was sympathetic toward and impressed by the concepts of socialism. It is a fascinating story. Nonetheless, this man had an amazingly soothing voice that still moves listeners even today.