Letter from Wildman S. Kincheloe to E. Bruce Heilman

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Letter from Wildman S. Kincheloe to E. Bruce Heilman


This letter was sent on November 1, 1971, from Wildman S. Kincheloe to E. Bruce Heilman, the President of the University of Richmond. Kincheloe wrote to Heilman after reading in the Richmond newspapers that the University’s Provost requested that the marching band’s color guard no longer bear the Confederate flag. "How proud I was that my beloved Alma Mater thus maintained its individuality as well as an appreciation for the historical traditions of the region in which is it located and of the city whose name it bears, instead of succumbing to prevalent shallow oversimplifications and distortion of history." Kincheloe also noted that the Richmond College Senate passed a resolution that the band "‘exercise restraint’" in playing "Dixie" because they felt it was contradictory to recruit black students and play "Dixie"; he wrote that the band played "Dixie" a few times during the previous basketball season, but "it was so bastardized a version as to give the impression that the Band was attempting to disguise the song." He claimed that "Dixie" is an American song that "deserves a place in American music" and that alumni, not only the student body, should have a say on whether or not the song is played at athletic events. He also argued that he hears "The Battle Hymn of the Republic," a song "born of wartime sectionalism, and the unreasoning fanaticism of those times," instead of "Dixie," which was "a pre-war and a show song." He also argued that it was appropriate to carry the Confederate flag in Richmond, Virginia, since it was the capital of the Confederacy. He believed that the university’s reason to not play "Dixie" and carry the Confederate flag was "specious" and that it was a "dubious decision." He then listed the university’s history with the Confederacy, arguing that they must remember history instead of sweeping it under the rug. He also argued that "Dixie" and the Confederate flag were not symbols of racism "for right-minded people."


Letter from Wildman S. Kincheloe to E. Bruce Heilman, 1 November 1971, RG 6.2.4 box 6 folder 16, University Archives, Virginia Baptist Historical Society.









Richmond (Va.)

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Student Contributor




Kincheloe, Wildman S., “Letter from Wildman S. Kincheloe to E. Bruce Heilman,” University of Richmond Race & Racism Project, accessed May 20, 2024, https://memory.richmond.edu/items/show/1929.