The history of Dixie is as messy as it is long: a southern folk song that was claimed to be written by an Ohioan, as well as a favorite tune of Abraham Lincoln that was later claimed as a spoil of war.
‘Dixie,’ used both to celebrate and indict the south, was described by Dr. Coleman Hutchison as “malleable and persistently relevant in American cultural life.”
Hutchison, an associate professor of English at the University of Texas at Austin, is currently working on a popular biography of Dixie, which seeks to tell “the story of how a song gave the South a nickname, and how that nickname has shaped the South’s cultural identity.”
About ten minutes into his lecture about the southern folk song Dixie, Hutchison showed a clip from the “Unite the Right” rally that took place in Charlottesville, VA last August. On the screen, white nationalists sung Dixie with tiki torches in hand.
“I wish I was in the land of cotton, old times there are not forgotten. Look away, look away, look away, Dixie Land,” sung the participants in the video.
Once the song ended, the participants in Charlottesville switched to
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