Missouri State Band Reignites Debate Over "Dixie"

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"Dixie" came out of blackface minstrel shows in the mid-19th Century.
The song "Dixie" was born from the blackface minstrel shows of the mid-19th century. The lyrics take the perspective, and exaggerated dialect, of a free slave who aches to return to his days of plantation bondage.

The first verse opens: "I wish I was in the land of cotton/ Old times they are not forgotten/ Look away! Look away! Look away! Dixie Land." And the chorus continues: "I wish I was in Dixie. Hooray! Hooray!/ In Dixie Land I took my stand to live and die in Dixie/ Away, away, away down south to Dixie/ Away, away, away down south to Dixie."

During the Civil War, the song became the Confederacy's anthem. Today, of course, "Dixie" induces polarized sentiments. Some call it an offensive reminder of one of America's great injustices. Some call it an essential artifact of the South's culture, of America's culture.

On November 18th, Missouri State University stepped firmly into the smoldering controversy, when its "Pride Band" played the song at a dedication of Park Central Square in Springfield, the site where three black men were lynched in 1906. On Saturday, the school's interim president Clif Smart issued an apology, telling the Springfield News-Leader that "Dixie" was "an unfortunate selection" that "will not be played again in a public venue."

The band's performance of the song triggered complaints from both community members and the NAACP. Defenders of "Dixie," argue that the song represents more than lingering nostalgia for plantation-era good times and is the region's version of "Yankee Doodle Dandy." The song was widely popular all across America in the second half of the 1800s. It was one of Abraham Lincoln's favorite tunes -- so much so that he had a band play it on the day he announced Robert E. Lee's surrender, hoping the song would serve as a bridge toward post-war reconciliation.

As recently as 2009, "Dixie" remained Ole Miss's unofficial fight song, trumpeted proudly whenever the Rebels got a crucial first down or needed a big defensive stop. At a judicial conference in Virginia in 1999, Supreme Court Chief Justice William Rehnquist led a "Dixie" sing-along.

"I've been to a number of the sing-alongs. I think he's always sung 'Dixie,'" a (white) lawyer named George C. Freeman Jr. told the Washington Post at the time. "I think all this stuff about reliving history is overblown. . . . I really think that the past is the past."

A couple of weeks after the Park Central Square incident, a News-Leader reader named Justin Ormsby, who described himself as "a music educator and MSU Pride Band alumni," spoke out against the song's critics in a letter to the editor. Citing Lincoln's embrace of the song, he wrote that "In this way 'Dixie' represents a reclaiming of the morality of equality from the segregated South."

In the eyes of many Southerners, contempt for "Dixie" is viewed as one more way outsiders are attempting to water down their culture. In his book, The Politically Incorrect Guide to the South, author Clint Johnson calls attention to a "media-led" campaign to denigrate the former states of the Confederacy.

"There is an open not-at-all-secret conspiracy to erase 'Dixie' and all vestiges of the Old South from public memory," writes Johnson. "The goal is to take away the South's distinctiveness, to make it a plain, homogenized version of everywhere else in the nation with no interesting accents, no rebellious history, no cultural heritage.... If the leaders and followers of this movement succeed, the South will one day be no more a distinctive region than the amorphously named Midwest."

South Carolina State Senator Glenn McConnell called the push to eliminate the song "a form of cultural genocide."

The problem with this line of reasoning, though, is that it fails to account for all those times in recent history that "Dixie" has stood as a proxy for hate. For instance, the song took on even more loaded connotations during the civil rights movement.

"[Blacks] would sing a song like 'We Shall Overcome' or 'The Battle Hymn of the Republic.' But then opponents of integration and black rights would sing 'Dixie' as a kind of counter-song asserting white privilege and white supremacy," University of Mississippi historian Charles Reagan Wilson told NPR in 2002.

In 1993, U.S. Senator and noted bigot Jesse Helms whistled "Dixie" when he was in an elevator with Carol Mosely Braun, the first black woman in the Senate, with whom he had dueled over the use of the Confederate flag. The Chicago Sun-Times reported that Helms told his colleague, Senator Orrin Hatch, "I'm going to make her cry. I'm going to sing 'Dixie' until she cries."

Spurred by the civil rights movement, students and band members at schools across the South protested the use of the song. Performers in the United States Army band protested it in 1971. Ole Miss administrators, whose mascot up to 2003 was a Confederate army soldier named Colonel Rebel (it is now a bear), banned "Dixie" in 2009.

So with its own "Dixie" ban, Missouri State signs its name onto a long list.

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42 comments
Jmerchant34
Jmerchant34

It is Univeristy of Missouri...and I will welcome them to the land of cotton...dumb ass.

mfb15
mfb15

Actually, we are Missouri State University, not Mizzou. It was an honest mistake and this situation has long resolved itself. 

RodneyKing
RodneyKing

Let us draw strength from the immortal words of Martin Luther King's son Rodney King and his Gettysburg address after the Nazis attacked us at Pearl Harbor:

I..I...just wanted to say.....you know.. can.. can...we all get along....can we get along....ummm....can we stop making it making it horrible for the older people....and the kids....and I mean we got enough smog in Los Angelas....ummm....let alone to deal with the ummm....setting these fires and... its just not right...its not right....and ummm...its not...its not gonna change anything...ummm...we'll get our justice...ummm...they won the battle but they haven't won the war.....we'll have our day in court...and thats all we want...ummm...I love people of color...you know...I'm not like that....they make me out to be...we've got to quit...we've got to quit....I can understand..understand being upset after the first two hours after the verdict...but to go on keep going on this like this.. Please we can all get along...we're all stuck here for awhile....lets try and work it out. 

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

Take particular notice of how the anti-racist racists continue to evade the question of "What's to be done about the massive problem of black racists in America?"

The anti-racist racists will always dodge the question and pretend that a problem with black racism does not exist. They use ridiculous red herrings that "scientific studies show that genetically blacks are incapable of racism".

Jamesfocus
Jamesfocus

"fictitious movies like Schindler's List and Roots"Cue Twilight Zone theme...

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

Sorry I forgot to mention 97.1 called. They wanted to know if you would want to join their Hate Speech Team on the airwaves to help peddle hate for Muslims, Whites, Christians, Native Americans, Iranians....

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

The only thing true about Schindler's List was that there was such a person. The rest of the story is a total dramatization and lacked any credible facts. It was a sob story stiched togethor by propagandists with an anti-White agenda just like the lies you were taught to repeat about Southern Americans.

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

Do the Lion and the Jackal declare to each other "well deep down we're both the same?" You liberals think somehow that the animal kingdom has rules set down by you.

Racial cowardice is not an admirable trait, it's despicable. You bring shame to everyone that reads your dishwatery missives and provide comfort to the enemy. You should be ashamed of your views but you're not learned enough to know the errors of them.

Jamesfocus
Jamesfocus

You brought up the Nazis, by defending them, Truth, which pretty much defines you on this thread at this point. yessir.

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

Look I'm not going to lie to you. Schindler's List is nothing more than jewish whacking material.

What you thought by pulling out the Nazi insult is nothing more than assault with a dead weapon. It's all gone - Nazi, Klan, Racist, antisemite...... all those labels are dead. They're worthless to you now. All but the liberals see right through it. Everyone laughs at you.

Jamesfocus
Jamesfocus

Those poor, innocent, libeled Nazis. Just good white folks, y'all.

Jamesfocus
Jamesfocus

The claim, by neoconfederates, that thousands of blacks fought for the South has been thoroughly discredited over the past several yrs., there is no such evidence of this. Thousands fought for the North, and their numbers were a significant factor. The North "invaded" the South? The war was not fought because of slavery? puh-leeze. "Dixie, primarily due to its use by racists and pro-segregation, Southern extremists during the CR Movement needs to be permanently retired. There was nothing wonderful, nor admirable about the South's attempt to destroy the Union and keep people enslaved, it was a traitorous act, and treason.

Truth Hurts has apparently been studying his favorite film lately, "Birth of a Nation."

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

If you want to talk about traitorous acts, let's talk about race traitors like you that are traitors to their own race. Huh? Yeah, let's talk about that race traitor!

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

And maybe you've been an advocate for "Knockout Kings" where black "yoofs" target Whites for violence. Apparently you believe White Americans should be subjected to the South Africa treatment where for no reason whatsoever other than blacks have failed to raise themselves this gives them a free hand to rob, rape and murder Whites whenever they feel like it. Perhaps I'm not the racist but rather YOU ARE!

Jamesfocus
Jamesfocus

I helped capture and identify two of the thugs involved in two of the "Knockout" incidents earlier this yr. in s. STL. Next.  Truth, you are just seething with racial hatred and paranoia, these incidents are bad, but relatively few in number, and violent crime, overall, is declining. Throw these thugs in jail, throw away the key. I've lived in the city, as the "minority" for over 25 yrs., 99% of my experiences are positive. Lighten up, Jethro, people are people, and more like you than different from you.

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

YOU ARE OUTRAGED whenever blacks are stereotyped and fight it by using White Stereotypes - YOU ARE THE EPITOME OF THE SELF-HATING WHITE LIBERAL.

ClintJohnson
ClintJohnson

Uh, Oh, Jamesfocus. You need to read my comment above that "Dixie" was likely written by black woman from Ohio (there's a book out on this that is pretty convincing), meaning if you don't like hearing or singing Dixie, you very well could be a racist who hates black women song writers. Perhaps you could seek from sensitivity training to rid yourself of your feelings of racial hatred. Oh,,,and you're also wrong about The South's leaving the Union being "treason." If you read my book PURSUIT: The Chase, Capture, Persecution and Surprising Release of Jefferson Davis, you will find that President Andrew Johnson's cabinet had a team of lawyers look into charging Davis with a crime, and the lawyers said that Davis had done nothing illegal or unconstitional.

Jamesfocus
Jamesfocus

Who cares who wrote the song? It was written for use in a mid-19th Century Minstrel show and it's original use was to be used to showcase white performers in black face pretending to be freedmen who longed for the days of slavery. Clint, you're just what I was talking about, a neoconfederate who will write and  claim anything to push the fiction that what the hothead racists and enslavers in the South did was perfectly OK. It was not. And Johnson was a Southerner, and if I remember right, a slaveowner in TN. What in the world does violent rap music and thugs mugging people have to do with a state funded band, representing the State of MO, stupidly playing the anthem of treasonous rebellion and anti-integrationists at the site of an infamous lynching? Dumb...dumb...dumb...TruthHurts, at least you are willing to admit you have no bigoted or racist feelings toward all back people, right? (chuckle). Oh, yeah, nothing treasonous, nor unconstitutional about what the South did, nothing to see there! yessir.

Jamesfocus
Jamesfocus

Oh, look at Clint go off, when the truth about him gets posted. Hurts, don't it? y'all. Where in the world am I "ranting?" Clinton, been to any slave sale re-enactments, lately, secessionist Balls. LOL

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

He's very good at repeating myths, fairytales and propaganda taught to him through his indoctrination in to liberalism.

ClintJohnson
ClintJohnson

Jamesfocus is pretty transparent. He's irrationally angry, illogical, not very knowedgeable about American history, not well skilled in arguing his point, and not good at researching the people he attacks. He makes charges about people he has never met and whose books he has never read. Reading his unfocused rantings are a waste of everyone's time, including mine. Yout get some help, now, Jamesfocus, you hear? People are beginning to worry about you (well, not me, but there must be someone in this world who cares about you.).

Jamesfocus
Jamesfocus

Clint, you are not a reputable historian, nor are you to be taken seriously, you are a neoconfederate who participates in secession re-enactments. Hello? Nutball Alert! And, an apologist for Southern Slavery, and, I'm sure, for the ol' Jim Crow, right? The legal segregation that was "right around the corner ending," too? Despite the fact it was intensifying and becoming more ingrained in the South 100 yrs. after the CW. Yep. The South could not exist without slavery, which they codified and made into a sacrament in their own Constitution.

ClintJohnson
ClintJohnson

 Jamesfocus - are you aware that no Confederate flags flew over any slave ships; that virtually all of the USA-owned slave ships were owned by Northerners; that New York City was the center of the American slave trade right through 1860 with New Yorkers operating a lucrative trade between Africa and the Caribbean? If you want to focus on slavery and The South, you should also focus on how the slave trade started in this country. Well, you are dead set on seeing only what you see in your own imagination - rather than dealing in facts - so I bid you good-bye.

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

Southerners should continue to be punished, stereotyped as idiots and Klansmen, discriminated against - to this day because you're a liberal and that's the way you want it?

You are sick sick sick with White Guilt. You feel terrrible about the holyhoax and weep at fictitious movies like Schindler's List and Roots and walk away just ready to cut and slash at your White skin. Take your self hating White liberalism somewhere else. I am proud to be White and proud of my race's accomplishments and no mealy mouthed backtalk from some piece of shit liberal will EVER change that!

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

Look I'm not going to be held to a double standard where UGLY black racism rules the discourse. Sure blacks are almost 100% racists and everyone recognizes this and walks on eggshells around it. It's time to expose black racism for what it is - UGLY!

Look at black music today. It's a shameful militant, racist, diatribe and calls for violence against Whites but liberals like yourself are continuously dosing themselves with indifference that "Y T's got it coming to him". There's no more room in America for black racism. It must be ended.

Kitty
Kitty

Wow, thanks for the slam against the Midwest, Johnson! The South is awesome, so there's no need to knock us to prove it!

ClintJohnson
ClintJohnson

Kitty, I didn't "knock" the Midwest. My point is that no one is ever quite sure where "The Midwest" is, but everyone knows where "The South" is.  I married a Midwesterner from Wisconsin (or is she a Westerner since Wisconsin was the frontier in Civil War times).

One thing that has always amused me is that "Dixie" was almost certainly written by a black woman, a former slave, living in Ohio, who found that Ohio was just as racist, maybe more so, than she had encountered in The South. Dan Emmett, a white Ohio minstral show guy, knew the black family who wrote and performed "Dixie" and stole it from them and claimed it as his own. That means, Efrauia, that anyone who doesn't like "Dixie" must hate black women song writers.

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

It doesn't amuse me that blacks are waging war on Whites every single day and nothing is being done about it.

East_Coast_Rappa
East_Coast_Rappa

Isn't nearly as bad as the sexist, mysogynistic, racist, bastardization, glamorizing violence drug and alcohol abuse of black rap songs of today.

Efrauia
Efrauia

"this racist song actually isn't offensive at all!"  proclaims a stupid white man

"we agree completely!" nod the other stupid white men

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

Look I'm not going to sit here and be weighed down by White guilt sprayed on with a FIRE HOSE by whiny minorities that are jealous of the White race and its accomplishments. Okay so the Top 1% did some bad stuff 100's of years ago. Am supposed to sit here and fall apart about it? No! I won't! Most of the "supposed" bad stuff is mostly lies. If you had slaves back then what good would it have done you to beat them? I mean c'mon let's get past the lies. Besides the Civil War was not fought because Northeners were good people because 95% of Americans to this day are still trash but I do imagine a larger percentage back then were better people. Nonetheless the Civil War was fought over States Rights and that the North was invading the South and trying to take over its agriculture and industry. Black people didn't really fight in the Civil War, they tried to escape and went North.

KITTY
KITTY

Contrary to what you say,  The Civil War Gazette says 30,000 blacks fought for the Confederacy and 200,000 blacks fought in the Union Army, a sizeable number considering approximately 750,000 even fought for the south during the entire Civil War. 9% of Union soldiers were balck! To say Black people didn't really fight in the Civil War is ridiculous. But I do agree that modern day white Americans should not be villianized for something a small number of our ancestors did. And remember that even George Washington and Thomas Jefferson, among other Founding Fathers, were slave owners.

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

And how much longer are we going to go through this? It's the same thing day in and day out. Trondell sitting on the front porch of his Section 8 house. He finishes his first malt liquor for the day, pulls the can from the paper bag and flips it on the lawn (that doesn't even have so much as a weed growing there), goes inside and grabs another 40 oz. can and puts it in to the bag, sits back on the chair on the porch and starts tearing up "i kaint git no job n sheeit cuz i kaint read n sheeit. muhafuckin raysis honky bishass crackaz n sheeit i got ma GeeEeeDee n sheeit cept dae give da SeeEeeOh job ta sum lill wyt boy n sheeit". Then Trondell sees mailman who brings him his Welfare (rep-a-rayshuns) check. Trondell leaps to his feet, grabs the check an jumps in to late model Cadillac Escalade with the tricked out chrome wheels and super deep deep bass beat sound system. Off he goes to the liquor store to cash the check and resupply with 40's to get him through to the evening when his krew shows up with some blunts.

It's either that or the surly, uppity, black government worker that refuses to do a lick "cuz i ain't no nigga n sheeit let dem muhafuckin wytass muhafuckaz karry dat shit wut dae tink dis iz n sheeit sum muhafuckin plan-tay-shun n sheeit"

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

They were mostly conscripts taken as war loot. Tasked with digging ditches, kitchen cleanup, clearing roads, etc. "Glory" was mostly hooey. You have to remember that a modern Civil War movie is made to demoralize Whites, not show Whites has having any honor, dignity or humanity. Anything regarding Whites nowadays were be mostly propaganda and lies. Meant to continue to denigrate and isolate and divide the White population of America in order to make it more pliable and willing to accept debt enslavement, hoardes of illegals flooding across the borders (to dilute the White population's powerbase). multiculturalism, diversity, homosexuality, abortion of White births, etc. You need to remember that there is a war on now and that war is against the White population of America.

KITTY
KITTY

This is just another example of politically correctness run amok. Next thing you know, they will want to ban the great song I'm Dreaming of a White Christmas. Frosty The Snow Man will be next!

Mike N.
Mike N.

You do know "White Christmas" was written by Irving Berlin, who was a Jew, right?

ColinSTL
ColinSTL

Irving Berlin also wrote "God Bless America."  And he was an atheist as well. 

Truth_Hurts
Truth_Hurts

Most if not all of the propaganda regarding the South are lies. Find out what ethnic group comprised the Carpetbaggers and that will also answer the question regarding the forming of the Klan which was formed to protect Southerners from the influx of Carpetbaggers that descended on the South during and after the war to victimize the south. The Klan's garb was based on the "Ghosts" of Southern Whites murdered and victimized by the Carpetbaggers.

Efrauia
Efrauia

biggest LOL of the year!  congratulations!

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