A campus coalition has formed at the University of Alabama to revise the Crimson Tide’s nearly century-old fight song, “Yea Alabama.”
One of the most recognizable tunes in all of college sports, “Yea Alabama” has become the target of a group seeking support to remove “Dixie” from its iconic lyrics.
First reported by campus newspaper The Crimson White, the Delete Dixie Initiative, which was formed by a handful of UA faculty and students, seeks to replace the word due to its affiliation with southern states during the Civil War era.
According to the initiative, the word holds “ties to the Confederacy, to racial subjugation, to a time of slavery and racial violence.”
“Dixie” has long been used, however, to identify the American South absent any relation to racial segregation or slavery. “The Heart of Dixie” has become one of many nicknames used for the state of Alabama, with it being featured most recently on government-issued license plates.
The issue was first raised in 2013 by Dr. Cassandra Simon, a UA associate professor of social work. She wants the fight song to feature “a more inclusive term.”
In March 2021, Simon penned a letter to university President Dr. Stuart Bell on behalf of the Black Faculty and Staff Association requesting “Dixie” be axed from the school’s official fight song.
Simon said she stopped attending all university athletic events upon realizing that “Yea Alabama” was played for all the sports, not solely at football games.
“I didn’t realize that this was the fight song for the entire university and all the athletic teams,” The Crimson White quoted Simon as saying. “So, I had attended a couple of basketball games and some gymnastic meets but then, when I realized that this was for everything, I stopped going to all athletic events.”
The Delete Dixie Initiative coalition website states the campaign “was created with the intention of bringing awareness to this issue, educating the campus community, and fostering chances for critical dialogue on diversity, equity, and inclusion.”
Should the coalition prove successful, it is unclear how the university could enforce the change given that it is common practice for students and fans to sing as the song is played by the Million Dollar Band.
According to the initiative’s petition webpage, the effort to cancel “Dixie” has only received 126 signatures as of reporting time, which signals that the group lacks significant support for the effort. For the fall 2022 semester, UA has 38,645 students enrolled.
In a statement to Yellowhammer News, student C.J. Pearson declared that “cancel culture” had “no place at The University of Alabama.”
“Instead of waging war on the timeless tradition and history of our state and the University of Alabama, and using students of color like myself as a scapegoat to do so, one might hope these individuals will find a better use of their time,” said Pearson.
As cited by Pearson, the fight song is rooted in rich history and tradition within the university’s powerhouse football program.
The Crimson White reported “Yea Alabama” became the university’s official fight song in 1926, with the Tide’s Rose Bowl victory over the University of Washington serving as inspiration for the lyrics.
“Yea Alabama” official lyrics:
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!!
Dylan Smith is the editor of Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @DylanSmithAL