A Texas high school has reportedly silenced its traditional rendition of “Dixie” during football games, as communities in the Lone Star state debate how to handle vestiges of the Old South.
The Austin American-Statesman reports that Travis High School in Austin began singing “Travis Fight” after a Rebels score during football games instead of the long tradition of singing “Dixie,” a 19th century song that some say became the unofficial anthem of the South.
Austin school district spokesman Alex Sanchez said teachers at the 1,300-student school have discussed changing the school’s fight song for a year. Austin’s school board didn’t vote on the song change, he said.
A local trustee said she’s heard mostly positive responses to the news, but at least one graduate of the school isn’t brimming with pride.
“People were just enraged,” Nancy Walker-Richburg told the newspaper.
The 1973 graduate, who has a Confederate flag tattooed on her ankle, said a wider discussion on the change should have occurred. An online petition calling for a reversal has since been launched, she said.
“It’s been that way for generations,” Walker-Richburg said. “It didn’t matter if you were black, white or purple — everybody would sing it together with pride and you would … get chills.”
Officials at Hays High School in nearby Buda, meanwhile, have decided to keep the traditional fight song despite a racially-charged incident in May in which two students allegedly wrote racial slurs and urinated on the door of an African-American teacher.
School board President Willie Tenorio Jr. said the district received recommendations from an independent law firm to provide more diversity education to students and improve diversity training for staff members. Because of that, concerns over its Rebel mascot and “Dixie” fight song must wait.
“I think at this point our plate is pretty full,” Tenorio told the newspaper.