UNA considering dropping ‘Pride of Dixie’ band name, cites ‘reputation as a progressive institution’
Seven days after hosting prominent Black Lives Matter activist Shaun King for a speech on campus, the University of North Alabama (UNA) announced on Thursday that they are considering changing the school band’s nickname – “Pride of Dixie.”
The name has been in use for over half a century, but now UNA has felt the need to impanel an official 19-member “study group” which includes faculty, staff, students and alumni who will examine, as they call it, “the issues surrounding the nickname.” This group will then offer a recommendation on keeping the nickname or banning its use.
“UNA has a reputation as a progressive institution, with a long history of successfully using collaborative leadership to address difficult social and cultural issues,” Dr. Ross Alexander, UNA vice president for Academic Affairs and Provost, said in a press release.
“The University is proud of its musical heritage and the musical heritage of the Shoals—both of which are built around values of inclusion and respect,” he added.This comes the week following UNA’s football game against Alabama A&M, a historically black university, when UNA Director of Bands Dr. Lloyd Jones intentionally omitted reference to “Dixie” in his introduction of the band “out of respect for A&M’s mission and campus history.”
UNA’s student newspaper, The Flor-Ala, reported that the marching band also covered the “D” on their “POD” uniforms for the game against A&M.
The Flor-Ala also published an article about King’s recent speech, in which the Black Lives Matter leader said we are in “a dip” in world history, adding, “Sometimes humans are awful.”
“This has been the deadliest year for police brutality and has the highest number of hate crimes,” King said. “Most people assume they will get out of the dip in their lifetime. But most times it takes hundreds of years.”
He advised that slavery and the Civil War, the Civil Rights Movement and Barack Obama’s presidency caused dips in the nation’s past.
“Trump is not the cause of our current dip,” King said. “But he causes us to stay in it.”
Sean Ross is a staff writer for Yellowhammer News. You can follow him on Twitter @sean_yhn