“Dixie.” Really?

imagesChecking for the year of the song “Dixie,” I came upon the remarkable fact that the original conceit of this minstrel song was that a freed slave is pining for the land of his birth and servitude. Huh? I always assumed it was a transplanted white Southerner. Yes, nostalgia is powerful, but still . . .

Yet more discoveries in Wikipedialand: There were campfire parody versions: “Pork and cabbage in the pot, / It goes in cold and comes out hot.” And Union versions:

On! ye patriots to the battle,
Hear Fort Moultrie’s cannon rattle!
Then away, then away, then away to the fight!
Go meet those Southern traitors,
With iron will.
And should your courage falter, boys,
Remember Bunker Hill.

Hurrah! Hurrah! The Stars and Stripes forever!
Hurrah! Hurrah! Our Union shall not sever!

Despite the hard-to-fathom sense of the original (Did buckwheat cakes and ‘Injun batter’ really make fat slaves?), one can see why the Union song never made it to the big time, and why Abraham Lincoln made a point of having the original “Dixie” sung by is army band as soon as the war was over. It’s a great song, greater than its benighted conceit.

Pamela Schoenewaldt, historical novels of immigration and the search for self in new worlds: WHEN WE WERE STRANGERS, SWIMMING IN THE MOON, and UNDER THE SAME BLUE SKY (all HarperCollins).

Posted in Just life

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Announcements

Workshop on Point of View for the Knoxville Writers Guild, Sat. Feb. 18, 2017, 10am to noon

For more events and specifics, please click on Events.

Recent Review
“Absorbing and layered with rich historical details, in Under the Same Blue Sky, Schoenewaldt weaves a tender and at times, heartbreaking story about German-Americans during World War I. With remarkable compassion, the author skillfully portrays conflicted loyalties, the search for belonging, the cruelty of war, and the resilience of the human spirit.”—Ann Weisgarber, author of The Promise and The Personal History of Rachel Dupree

Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts.

Join 2,153 other followers

%d bloggers like this: