Mr. Higgins explained all of the racist history of the song with information that most of which is readily available on “Dixie’s” Wikipedia page. I am not writing this to argue with Mr. Higgins information. What he said about Dixie’s origin is true and is an extremely upsetting and shameful thing. However, I would like to point out that while he took the time to speak with faculty, staff and students who were offended by “Dixie”, he did not take the time to ask anyone why they supported it. True, “Dixie” was written with terrible beliefs in mind, but I believe that it has developed into a feeling of love and pride for our home.
Well Mr. Higgins, I will try my best to describe to you why “Dixie” is such an important song to me and many students, alumni, faculty, and staff. When the Pride of the South Marching Band strikes the opening chord, chills always race down my spine. My mind immediately races back to memories of my childhood, running in and out of tents in the Grove and climbing all of the campus’ Magnolia trees. Few people can truly know what it feels like to play football with friends in the Grove to then turn around and cheer on gridiron heroes such as Deuce McAllister and Eli Manning in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. You see Mr. Higgins, the rattle of the
drumbeat and the blare of the trumpets have never been associated with hate in my mind. On the contrary, I immediately think of the things that I love.
As it plays, I think of the many things that make The South such a rare and amazing place. It’s the sweet tea in our veins, and the strong scents of Honey Suckle and Pine. It’s the summer sun shining on our faces and the lightning bugs glowing on summer nights. It’s the hand-made biscuits and jam, the delicious pecan pies, and that you can order anything fried. It’s the fact that our Football Saturdays are nearly as important as our Sabbath Sundays. It’s the pride in our manners, and pride in our accents. It’s the Mississippi mud between our toes and the dirt road on our tires. And most importantly Mr. Higgins, it is that the love of one another is so strong and so pure, that during times of strife and crisis, hundreds and even thousands will be there to support one another. I understand that what I have written is a cliché. However, these are some of the things that make Southerners proud, Mr. Higgins. I admit that you are right that it has been used as a symbol of hatred for our fellow human beings. The original intent of the lyrics is truly atrocious and offensive. However, I believe that the song has developed into something quite the opposite. It has become a symbol of love for what all of us hold so dear to our hearts, Ole Miss and the South. It is not just a song Sir; it is the anthem of our fading memories and the great times that we have had living here.
I can see why someone who has only lived in the South for a year and a half might misunderstand it. To citizens of other states and even people born of another generation, it seems as if we are just a bunch of crazy, slavery supporting racists. However, the feeling that I get in the South, and Ole Miss specifically, is one of progression. We all know our history, and we are all ashamed of it. We are stuck between the symbols of a dead decade, and the love and pride for one’s homeland. By dismantling our heritage, we are doing nothing but creating more strife and pain. I hope that one day, we can all finally feel proud of our state and people. That we can wave
our Southern flags and sing our Southern songs not based on the hate for one another, but because of our tremendous pride for being Southern.
So now, I ask you Mr. Higgins, do you not believe that things created for the purpose of evil can change and possibly grow into something good? Can you see through its disgusting origins, and see it for what it has become: the love of one’s home? The South will forever be shackled to the shame of our history, but that is not the home that I know and love. That is not the Dixieland that will forever be in my heart.