On May 5 and 6, I was due to perform in a Sanford Maine Stage Senior Theatre production of “Oh, Susannah,” a show about the music of the Civil War, both Southern and Northern.

The show was canceled – because, I have been told, a Bowdoin College professor (Patrick Rael) and other so-called nonracists threatened to picket us because we were “insensitive racists.” We were told that, in particular, songs of Stephen Foster are now anathema because Foster was a racist who performed minstrel shows in blackface.

Did this professor know that people my age sang these songs around our home pianos and that we commiserated with the black plight when we sang “Old Black Joe”?

Did he know that I graduated from Bowdoin’s rival liberal arts college, Colby College, Class of 1951?

Did he know that I served in the Army during the Korean War for three years and then went on to a 30-year career of teaching?

Did he watch, as I did, May 5 when people gathered in the rain at the Kentucky Derby in their finest duds to sing Foster’s “My Old Kentucky Home”?

Did he know that a group of seniors had rehearsed for six weeks to put on “Oh, Susannah”?

Did he know that my wife and I attended a rally for Barack Obama in South Portland, where my wife received a hug from the president after she welcomed him to Maine?

Did he know that the local production of “Oh, Susannah” ended with the recitation of the Gettysburg Address and the singing of “Battle Hymn of the Republic”?

Did he know that last Sunday, I sang in my UCC choir a hymn about “justice and peace”?

Did the canceling of a theatrical show because of the threat of picketing really happen in Springvale, Maine?

Did I miss some irony and evil in all this?

Fred Boyle

Springvale