- Race and Racism Observed In UR Sororities
- Global Citizens: How to Integrate a Curriculum
- Dining Discrimination at the University of Richmond
- Lost Cause Ideology, Found at the University of Richmond
- Students of Color in the Messenger
- Westhampton College Traditions
- Racism in UR Fraternities (1947-1985)
- Resistance & Compliance
- The Title IX Controversy at UR
- "Dark Side of College Life"
- Chinese Student Experience
- Student Life and White Supremacy
- George Modlin's Segregated University of Richmond
- Students of Color at UR (1946-1971)
- Performance & Policy
- Silence in the Archives
- Black Student Experience at UR (1970-1992)
- Faculty Response to Institutional and National Change (1968-1973)
- Building the Web
- Something Wrong with the System
- Culture of Complacency
- On Campus but Not Welcomed
- Can I Survive?
- Where I Come From, You Recognize Humanity
- The Damage of the Affirmative Action Myth
- A Feather in Their Cap: The Story of Barry Greene (R'72)
- A Campus Divided
- Freeman Digitally Remastered
- Remembering the Forgotten: Black Staff Members (1946-1971)
- Spider of Color: Korean-American Representation at the University of Richmond
- Theater History at the University of Richmond
- Digital Stories
- Oral History Collection
- Browse Items
- Subjects List
Slave Auction Writings & The Dixie Controversy
Slave Auction Ads
In multiple Collegian articles written in 1967, 1978, and 1980 there are ads for “Slave Sales” and a “Slave Auction.” The peculiar thing is that they give very little detail simply stating that the location that the event will take place, and that “individual or group bids will be accepted.” There were three that were featured in the student ad section of the Collegian. The first being in a September 1967 Collegian newspaper, with the title “WC Frosh Plan to Auction Slaves.” In this brief advertisement, it states that the “freshman class will sponsor a slave auction of its class members.” At this point, there were no black students at the University of Richmond, and it can be assumed that this event was instead a type of bachelor auction to raise money for certain clubs. The same phrasing continued to be used in a few other adds, that can be seen in the various photos throughout this exhibit.
The mention of the slave auction advertisements again appeared in one of the Team Oral History interviews with alumni Karla Peters. In recounting her first memory of the University of Richmond, she states that she was part of the largest class of students of color, specifically African American students. They were all walking through the Commons, and saw a large advertisement for a slave auction. She explains how the group she was with just stopped at stared, “Now, I’m sure it was probably more like – I’m hoping it was more like a bachelor auction or something, but it was portrayed as a slave auction than black and white.” This occurred in 1986, and was the first memory that some black alumni have of the University.
Dixie Song in Context
The song “Dixie” is a well-known and well-loved song in the South, however it has stirred much controversy as its origins are undoubtedly racist, and the song itself is a remnant of the Confederacy and Lost Cause Ideology. The song became popular through minstrel shows, which were performances made in blackface, and dialect in order to demean and dehumanize African Americans for entertainment. Although the song was created and spread throughout the North, it became the de facto anthem of the Confederacy during the Civil War. There are several versions of the song, one of those versions relating more to the pride of the Confederacy.
Dixie Controversy at the University of Richmond
In the year 1971, there was a controversy over the University of Richmond, consistently playing the song “Dixie,” at sports events, ceremonies, and other University functions, as the song would be played while also holding a Confederate Flag. There is also mention of the song Dixie being played multiple times in a 1967 Collegian article about KA’s annual “Rose Ball.” The brothers were dressed as Confederate Soldiers and Southern Gentlemen, and the ball began with a “session from the Union with the Declaration of Secession being read.” Following this the Confederate Flag was raised while the song Dixie was played, and it was said to have played once more in the evening.
In 1970 there began to be more controversy about the song being played in conjunction with the Confederate Flag, as more black students were being admitted. A 1970 Collegian article explains the reasons why people are offended by the song, and how it can be racist as they, “do not feel that it is appropriate for a group officially representing the University of Richmond to flaunt these symbols which remind many of the racial discrimination that was once advocated by a group of revolutionaries who rebelled against the United States.” In 1971, there was push by the student government to request that the song, and flag not be included during sporting events, as they do not promote an inclusive campus. There were many Collegian opinion articles defending the position of removing the song from being sung, and reminding students that the song brings back times when blacks were enslaved and would harm future black recruitment.
However, there was also much pushback from students and alumni who did not understand why this tradition was harmful. A letter from alumni Wildman S. Kincheloe to the President of the University at the time E. Bruce Heilman, describes how he was proud that his University was one of the few that still practiced historical traditions, without “succumbing to prevalent shallow oversimplifications and distortion of history.” Kincheloe goes on to state that “Dixie” is an American song, and honors the fact that Richmond was the Capital of the Confederacy. He also goes onto argue that “Dixie” and the Confederate flag are not symbols of racism to those who are “right minded.”
To the left are a collection of Collegian articles that discuss the controversy, from both sides of the argument.