Campus coalition of faculty, students working to remove the word “Dixie” from “Yea Alabama” 

Raelee Sents, Staff Reporter

The Delete Dixie Initiative, a new campus coalition of students and faculty working to remove the word “Dixie” from “Yea Alabama,” unveiled their new website on Thursday. 

According to the website, Delete Dixie’s mission “is to remove the word, ‘Dixie’, from the fight song and replace it with a term such as ‘Bama.’” 

The History 

“Dixie” became a common nickname for southern states after the Civil War in the 1860s. The Delete Dixie Initiative says that “dixie” carries connotations of the remnants of slavery and exploitation. 

The group said they are calling for change due to the word’s “ties to the Confederacy, to racial subjugation, to a time of slavery and racial violence.” 

A video on the Delete Dixie Initiative website mentioned the 1926 Rose Bowl as being inspiration for “Yea Alabama!” Both the 1925 football season and the 1926 Rose Bowl were inspiration for the fight song lyrics. Up until 1926, the Crimson Tide did not have an official fight song. A competition in Oct. 1925, hosted by campus humor magazine Rammer Jammer, was put on for people to submit potential fight songs for the University. A Crimson White editor at the time, Ethelred Skyes, won the competition and donated the prize money to have the song arranged “so the Million Dollar Band could play ‘Yea Alabama!’ by the 1926 football season” said a News Center story. 

The Initiative 

Abbey Moses, a junior majoring in social work working on the Delete Dixie Initiative, said “this is actually an initiative that started a few years ago with the Black Faculty and Staff Association. This is something they were in contact with administration.” 

A letter to President Stuart Bell’s office was written by Cassandra Simon, associate professor of social work, in March 2021, formally requesting “that the University of Alabama take the necessary steps to change the fight song lyrics by removing the word ‘Dixie.’”  

Yea, Alabama! Drown ’em Tide! Every ‘Bama man’s behind you, Hit your stride. Go teach the Bulldogs to behave, Send the Yellow Jackets to a watery grave. And if a man starts to weaken, That’s a shame! For Bama’s pluck and grit have Writ her name in Crimson flame. Fight on, fight on, fight on men! Remember the Rose Bowl, we’ll win then. Go, roll to victory, Hit your stride, You’re Dixie’s football pride, Crimson Tide, Roll Tide, Roll Tide!

— 'Yea Alabama' Full Lyrics

In the request, which Simon said was on behalf of herself and the Black Faculty and Staff Association, she wrote “that the term ‘Dixie’ be removed from the fight song and be replaced with a more inclusive term.”  

Simon said that the playing of “Yea Alabama!” has deterred her from attending football games and other sporting events in the 22 years that she has been at the University.  

“I didn’t realize that this was the fight song for the entire university and all the athletic teams. So, I had attended a couple of basketball games and some gymnastic weeks but then when I realized that this was for everything, I stopped going to all athletic events,” Simon said. 

Simon said she presented the issue of “dixie” to her class as a topic they could address in a community or advocacy project. 

Moses said this initiative was introduced to her and Elizabeth Prophet, a junior majoring in social work working on the Delete Dixie Initiative, through Simon’s class in Fall 2021. Now, the initiative has “about 20 or 30” people involved. 

Moses said her and Prophet “got really involved and passionate about this cause and so they just kind of went from there and started this entire initiative.” 

According to Prophet, a recent Honors College Assembly meeting had about 25 to 30 students show up. Prophet said the assembly was “very dialogue based.” 

Simon said she was “really pleased with the response from the students in their willingness to want to make the difference, and to see how something that may not be hurtful to them can be very hurtful and demeaning to other people.” 

“There are many important issues of inclusion that need to be explored, but we believe that this is a good step in the right direction, in terms of something that we can do to make our campus more associated with something that is inclusive for all students,” Prophet said. 

Moses said she would “like to encourage the student body to approach this with an open mind.” She also encourages “to utilize the website because there’s a ton of resources on there.” 

A video titled “What is Dixie?” was posted on the Delete Dixie Initiative website. The initiative has also started a Delete Dixie petition. 

The University’s department of Strategic Communications did not respond to requests for comment.  

Elizabeth Prophet is an SGA senator for the school of social work.