Francis Scott Key—San Francisco, CA, USA

The Slaveowner and author of the “Star Spangled Banner” was torn from his perch by direct action on Juneteenth 2020.

Best known for writing the American national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner,” a song with racist lyrics1, Francis Scott Key was an unrepentant slaveowner.2 A statue of Key in Golden Gate Park was upended by protesters and the base vandalized during Juneteenth protests in 2020.3 The statue’s removal comes after years of efforts by locals to remove local references to racists and slaveowners, including a local school.4

Key was one of three statues toppled in Golden Gate Park on Juneteeth 2020; the others were Junípero Serra and Ulysses S. Grant.


  1. ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’s’ racist lyrics reflect its slave owner author, Francis Scott Key ↩︎

  2. Where’s the Debate on Francis Scott Key’s Slave-Holding Legacy? ↩︎

  3. Junipero Serra, Francis Scott Key statues toppled in San Francisco Golden Gate Park ↩︎

  4. Should San Francisco schools with names tied to slavery be changed? ↩︎

Photo Credit: Peter Chu