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Harvard to Pull Outdated 'Puritans' From School Song

Image: Harvard to Pull Outdated 'Puritans' From School Song
(Photo by Brooks Kraft/Corbis via Getty Images)

By    |   Thursday, 06 Apr 2017 12:43 PM

Harvard says it is changing a line in the school's 131-year-old alma mater song in a bid to bring it into "the 21st century."

Since 1836, "Harvard Fair" has ended with the lyric, "Till the stock of the Puritans die."

But Ivy League university's Presidential Task Force on Inclusion and Belonging believes the word "puritans" has been long outdated.

"Puritans" refers to English Reformed Protestants in the 16th and 17th centuries who sought to "purify" the Church of England of its Catholic influence.

According to the Freedom Trail Foundation, in 1643, Puritan citizens of the Plymouth colony helped legalize the slave trade, making Massachusetts among the first colonies to do so. By 1850, the colony had more than 13,000 slaves.

To make the change, Harvard will hold a competition in which applicants can perform their new lyric proposals.

Judges who'll will pick the new lyric include Kurt Crowley, the associate conductor of the Broadway smash, "Hamilton," and Marcyliena Morgan, an African and African-American studies professor and author of "The Real Hiphop."

There's no prize money for the winner, but the presidential task force says he or she will receive "Eternal fame and the enduring gratitude of your fellow members of the Harvard community."

There will also be a second competition for "a new musical variant" of the song that could be performed as "choral, spoken word, electronic, hip-hop, etc.," the presidential task force says on its website.

"The goal is to affirm what is valuable from the past while also re-inventing that past to meet and speak to the present moment. The inspiration is Hamilton. The point is to use your imagination."

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Harvard says it is changing a line in the school's 131-year-old alma mater song in a bid to bring it into "the 21st century."
harvard, university, puritans, song, alma mater
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2017-43-06
Thursday, 06 Apr 2017 12:43 PM
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