“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

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Sunday, May 6, 2pm reading from latest work at Hexagon Brewing Company, Knoxville, TN.

Thursday, May 10, 6-8 pm presentation on research on the historical novel, Blount County Library, Maryville, TN.

When We Were Strangers, Italian translation, to be presented in Pescasseroli, Italy, August 2018.

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

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