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Let the Band Play Dixie!

Are you ready for some Football: 'Southern Style?'


By —— Bio and Archives--September 26, 2014

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Hello, America!

Did you know that Roger Staubach—one of the greatest NFL Quarterbacks of all times—last played for Coach Tom Landry and the Dallas Cowboys in 1979?

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The Dukes of Hazzard premiered the same year on the CBS Television Network starring the Dodge Charger-01 the ‘General Lee’ that beautifully featured a Confederate battle flag on the roof and Dixie horn. The show was narrated by a legend of country music Waylon Jennings who sang the introduction song ‘Good Ole Boys’ which ended with a spectator car jump and a Rebel Ye’ll of a ‘Yee Hah’ from the Duke boys.

And in 1979 the country music brother-duo the ‘Bellamy Brothers’ released their song ‘You ain’t just whistling Dixie.’

Do you remember when Waffle House restaurants included Elvis Presley’s ‘Dixie-An American Trilogy’ on the jukebox where you could play six songs for a buck? Dixie was always my first selection and on one occasion brought cheer to a customer who whistled the song as he exited the building.

During America’s Bi-Centennial, in the year of our Lord 1976, ‘Dixie’ was played during the Brave’s baseball games at Atlanta’s old Fulton County Stadium and that same year by the Atlanta NBC TV affiliate in promotion of the NBC Television premiere of Gone With the Wind. Dixie was also played by the Lawrence Welk Band with George Cates conducting on a Welk show in 1976 commemorating America’s Bi-Centennial.

Sadly, Dixie is rarely heard anymore, and….

A recent newspaper headline reads “Howard County Schools disciplines student who displayed Confederate flag at game.”

What happened to those days when it was cool for bands to play Dixie at both Northern and Southern schools while students cheered and waved Confederate flags? It was even cool for Rock, Country, Blues, Jazz and Big Bands to play America’s song Dixie that included Hank Williams, Jr. singing ‘Dixie on My Mind’; Dwight Yoakam’s ‘I Sang Dixie’ and hush my mouth Lynyrd Skynyrd‘s ‘Sweet Home Alabama’ with the Confederate Battle flag hanging on the back drop.

Autumn-time is the time for football….But, gone are the days when school bands played Dixie, like the Dixie Redcoat Marching Band did at University of Georgia Bull Dog games, and….

The Ole Miss Cheerleaders and their school Mascot Colonel Reb that lifted the spirit of fans who waved Confederate flags and cheered to the band playing Dixie. Unfortunately, Colonel Reb has been replaced by a bear, flag waving has been discouraged and Dixie is rarely heard anymore. Some say this was done in the spirit of diversity. But, isn’t diversity supposed to include everyone including: Black, White, Hispanic, Jewish and Native American folks from the South whose Confederate ancestors fought during the War Between the States?

Do you know the history of the song Dixie that is a joyful sound of inspiration and pride for many people?

In 1859, Ohio Native Dan Emmett first performed “Dixie” in New York City to an enthusiastic-cheering crowd. Two years later, on February 18, 1861, the band played Dixie at the Inauguration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in Montgomery, Alabama, and….

On April 14, 1865, after General Robert E. Lee’s surrender, President Abraham Lincoln said: “Now Let the Band Play Dixie; it belongs neither to the South, nor to the North but to us all.”—-New York Times Sunday Magazine, August 11, 1907.

For 150 years American school bands have played Dixie including the Milton High school ‘Dixie Eagles’ Band that performed Dixie at the invitation and inauguration of the late Lester G. Maddox as Governor of Georgia in January 1967.

In a cemetery in Mount Vernon Ohio lies Dan Emmett, the Composer of Dixie, whose headstone reads: “Daniel Decatur Emmett 1815 - 1904 whose song ‘Dixie Land’ inspired the courage and devotion of the Southern people and now thrills the hearts of a reunited nation.” Three miles North of Emmett’s grave is the burial ground of Ben and Lew Snowden of a Black musical family. On their tombstone are the words “They taught Dixie to Dan Emmett.”

The Georgia Division Sons of Confederate Veterans commemorates the 150th Anniversary of the War Between the States.

Let the Band Play Dixie!


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Calvin E. Johnson Jr. -- Bio and Archives | Comments

A native of Georgia, Calvin Johnson,  Chairman of the National and Georgia Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, Confederate Veterans Confederate History and Heritage Month Program

He is the author of the book “When America Stood for God, Family and Country.”


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