A 106-year-old statue honoring Star Spangled Banner writer Francis Scott Key was defaced in Baltimore early Wednesday.
Officials say they received a report that the monument had been vandalized around 6:30 a.m., painted with the words, "Racist Anthem."
"Racist Anthem": The century-old Francis Scott Key Memorial at Eutaw Place in Baltimore was defaced overnight. https://t.co/nWTa2thxX2 pic.twitter.com/5vPAqNyTeT— Colin Campbell (@cmcampbell6) September 13, 2017
The ground near the monument was also painted with the the third stanza of Key's anthem which states, "No refuge could save, Hireling or slave From terror of flight, Or gloom of grave," The Baltimore Sun reported.
Key's monument is made mostly of marble, with a gold base and a gold statue of the famed anthem written on top. Police say the monument was tagged with black lettering and red paint.
Baltimore has seen a spat of vandalism targeting historical monuments in the past weeks including damage to a statue of Christopher Columbus. It also comes following the city's overnight removal of four monuments linked to the Confederacy last month.
The statue was dedicated in 1911 to honor Key, an attorney who was being held captive aboard a British ship off Fort McHenry during the War of 1812, when he wrote what would later become America's national anthem.