ARAB, Ala. – A rural Alabama high school is ending the tradition of playing “Dixie” at football games.
John Mullins, superintendent of the city schools in Arab, said he made the decision to stop the playback of the song in the Arab (AY-rab) in high School, but not because of “external pressure.”
Leaders in education and the school board had for months about the fall of the song, he said, local news outlets reported in June that the old band director was to retire.
“While I fully understand the difficulty of changing a tradition, the song has negative connotations that contradict with our school district’s values of unity, integrity and relationships,” Mullins said in a statement reported by WHNT-TV.
School bands in the South used to play “Dixie”, but the practice is terminated when the region got further and further away from legalized segregation.
The Arab High School Band played “Dixie” after touchdowns for decades.
Students and staff of the school will vote on a new fight song after this football season. In the meantime, the band plays an instrumental soul song that is popular among marching bands, “The Horse.”
Census statistics show the city of about 8,200 people, located in the northeastern part of Alabama, more than 96 percent white.
Information: WHNT-TV, http://whnt.com/