“Dixie”: Disunion Blog – NY Times

There is an interesting article at the NY Times’ Civil War blog, “Disunion,” this morning on the writing and acceptance in the South, as its “anthem,” of the song “Dixie,” ironically written by a Northerner, Daniel Decatur Emmett: “In a New York apartment on a rainy day in March 1859, Daniel Decatur Emmett sat down at his desk to write a song for his employer, Bryant’s Minstrels, and its upcoming stage show. Then 44 years old, Emmett had been composing minstrel songs — to be performed primarily by white actors in blackface — since he was 15. Looking out his window at the dreary day outside, Emmett took his inspiration from the weather. A single line, ‘I wish I was in Dixie,’ echoed in his mind. Before long, it would echo across the country.” 



About marcferguson

I teach history, including the American Civil War Era, as an Adjunct at American International College in Springfield, Ma. I also teach survey courses in U.S. history, Western Civilization, and World History, and have taught at other area colleges, including the University of Massachusetts/Amherst, and Holyoke Community College. While my academic background is in European History, my interest in the American Civil War began about a decade ago. Other areas of interest include Modernism, 20th century World Thought and Culture, The Rise of the West after 1400, 19th c. American Society and Culture, Central and Eastern European History and Culture, and Local History. I have in recent years cut back my teaching drastically in order to devote more time raising my kids (15 year old twins now), including working part-time at their elementary/middle school for the past 6 years, they are now launched and off to High School, and I plan to crank up my involvement in teaching history and local history projects, particularly in light of the American Civil War Sesquicentennial.
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4 Responses to “Dixie”: Disunion Blog – NY Times

  1. Chuck says:

    Like nearly everything else–socially, politically, scientifically, culturally, economically–the South was a creative vacuum, even musically.

    • marcferguson says:

      No culture that could produce William Faulkner, Tennessee Williams, and a Flannery O’Connor, could be characterized as a “creative vacuum.”

      • marcferguson says:

        Okay, I missed that you were referring to the antebellum South, and you may be right. The above writers I referenced were a product of the post war South and reared in a culture of defeat and resentment, which may account for the nature and quality of their writing and world visions.

      • Chuck says:

        That’s what I meant, Marc. I should have been clearer.

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