Confederate anthem 'Dixie' played during July 4 fireworks 'not deliberately picked,' official says

Officials from a suburban New York town say playing a song known as the Civil War's unofficial Confederate anthem at a town-sponsored Fourth of July celebration was an oversight.

Clarkstown Town Supervisor George Hoehmann tells The Journal News that "Dixie" ''was not deliberately picked" for the fireworks display.

"Dixie" celebrates life in the old South and originated in blackface minstrel shows. It was part of a medley of patriotic songs by country star Lee Greenwood that accompanied the fireworks.

Valerie Mathews says she attended the show and was shocked to hear "Dixie." She says the song celebrates "when African-Americans were enslaved."

Hoehmann says the parks and recreation employee who chose the song was unaware of its historical context.

Clarkstown is about 35 miles north of New York City.