US state of Maryland retires pro-Confederacy state song
The US state of Maryland has retired the state song, whose lyrics lauded the pro-slavery Confederacy(AFP)

The US state of Maryland on Tuesday retired the Civil War-era state song, whose lyrics lauded the pro-slavery South.

"We're repealing the state song, which is a relic of the Confederacy," Maryland Governor Larry Hogan said at a signing ceremony.

The song, "Maryland, My Maryland," was written during the 1861-65 Civil War by James Ryder Randall, a Southern sympathizer.

The Democratic-controlled state legislature voted earlier this year to retire the song and Hogan, a moderate Republican, agreed, saying it was "clearly outdated and out of touch."

The song, adopted as the Maryland anthem in 1939, refers to former president Abraham Lincoln as a "despot" and to "Northern scum."

Maryland bordered the North and South during the Civil War and was a slave state but did not secede from the Union.

Until last year, the song was notably played before the running of the Preakness Stakes, one of races that make up the Triple Crown in horse racing.

A replacement state song has not yet been chosen.

The retirement of the song comes amid a wave of removals of Confederate monuments and memorials around the country.