Department of English

Assistant Professor Coleman Hutchison interviewed on 'American Icons'

Tue, April 26, 2011
Assistant Professor Coleman Hutchison interviewed on 'American Icons'

Assistant Professor Coleman Hutchison talked about the evolution of the popular song “Dixie” on the April 15 PRI/WNYC radio program American Icons.

Studio 360’s Trey Kay interviewed Professor Hutchison for the series, which features discussions about American cultural milestones. Hutchison, who “devotes a lot of ink to ‘Dixie’” in his book Apples of Ashes, spoke about the song’s origins in minstrelsy, its adoption by the Confederate states during the Civil War, and its retention in popular culture today.

Because of its problematic connotations, “Dixie” has been banned in institutions over the course of the last century. While retired U.S. Army Colonel Philip Wilkinson and former U.S. Senator Carol Moseley Braun criticized use of the song, South Carolina State Senator Glenn McConnell likened the song’s prohibition to “cultural genocide.” Hutchison, meanwhile, emphasized the song’s cultural impact and educational value.

“By listening to and by studying ‘Dixie,’ I think we get an extraordinary opportunity to see the history of the last 150 years,” Hutchison said. “From blackface minstrelsy to the inauguration of Barack Obama, ‘Dixie’ has been a major cultural thread that can connect those disparate historical moments.”

Click here to listen to Hutchison’s interview on American Icons.
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