"My Old Kentucky Home, Good-Night!" is a sentimental minstrel song written by Stephen Foster, probably composed in 1852. It was published in January 1853 by Firth, Pond, & Co. of New York. Foster was likely inspired by Harriet Beecher Stowe's Uncle Tom's Cabin, as evidenced by the title of a sketch in Foster’s sketchbook, “Poor Uncle Tom, Good-Night!” Some have claimed that Foster was inspired by visits to the Bardstown, Kentucky plantation called Federal Hill in the 1850s. However, no direct or contemporary evidence of this visit has surfaced, and this claim has been contested by most prominent Foster scholars, including William Austin, Ken Emerson, and John Tasker Howard.
Interpretations of the song vary widely. Most scholars of Foster agree that the song is a sentimental minstrel song, in contrast with the earlier bawdy comic minstrel songs like “Oh Susanna” and “De Camptown Races.” Frederick Douglass wrote in his 1855 autobiography My Bondage and My Freedom that the song "awakens sympathies for the slave, in which antislavery principles take root, grow, and flourish". However, the song’s inclusion in blackface minstrel shows, “Tom shows” (stagings of Stowe’s novel of varying degrees of sincerity and faithfulness to the original text), and other settings have clouded its reception greatly.