The South is rich with history. While some portions we can certainly learn and grow from, other parts we can stand proud, knowing the true meaning behind our storied past.
We’ve all heard the term “Dixie.” And most of us know that it’s the general term for all things Southern, but I got to wondering just where it came from. Anyone else? So, let’s explore a little history about Dixie.
No one knows for sure just where the term “Dixie” came from. Some speculate that it dates back to currency issued from the banks in Louisiana called “Dix,” French for “ten.” The notes were known as “Dixies” and eventually the term broadened to encompass the area. Others believe it stems from Mr. Dixy, a slave owner with a reputation for kindness. Still others speculate it comes from Jeremiah Dixon, of Mason-Dixon line denotation.
But whichever explanation you’re inclined to believe, the traditional South has long been known as “Dixie Land.” While we can look to some of these explanations as parts of our past, the label is part of our present. We must always learn from mistakes in history, and move forward with humility surrounding certain aspects, and pride concerning others. Most of us can think of businesses, grocery markets, and clothing suppliers who proudly still maintain “dixie” in their title. There are even “Little Dixie” communities in many states — Arkansas, Kentucky, Missouri, Oklahoma, and Utah.
Perhaps equally as famous as the term “Dixie” is the song, “I Wish I Was in Dixie Land.” Again, the story of this song has much unknown surrounding it, but most agree it was written by a Northerner, Daniel Emmett, who ran a minstrel show. The song became a hit, and even Abraham Lincoln asked for the song to be played on his campaign and as the War Between the States was over.
And every Southerner I know can agree on the opening words:
“Oh, I wish I was in the land of cotton, Old times there are not forgotten!”
However you feel about the term “Dixie,” it’s part of our Southern heritage. And that’s not just whistlin’ Dixie!