Who composed “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny”?

In 1878 James Bland (1854–1911), composer and minstrel entertainer, was the first black to compose a song that became an official state song. “Carry Me Back to Old Virginny,” was adopted by the state in April 1940, although few knew that it was by a black composer. Bland wrote approximately seven hundred songs in his career, including “Oh, Dem Golden Slippers” and “In the Evening by the Moonlight.” Born in Flushing, New York, he attended Howard University Law School but gave up his law studies to join the entertainment world.


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