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Refugio divided over school's fight song

Posted at 3:04 PM, Nov 26, 2019
and last updated 2019-11-26 19:34:33-05

The Refugio School Board voted Monday night to keep its school fight song, "Dixie," by a vote of 5-2.

An item on Monday's night's meeting agenda reads "Consider discontinuing the use of the Refugio High School fight song."

School board president Andy Rocha, vice-president Kelley Walker and board members Lorraine Garcia, Ethel Garza and T. Wayne Price. Secretary Jorge Jaso and board member Eugene "Bull" Lewis were the dissenting votes.

"Dixie" has long been associated with racism and the confederacy. It was composed in 1859 as a minstrel show, a popular form of entertainment in the day in which white actors wore blackface. It has been called the unofficial anthem of the Confederacy. It also was featured in the 1915 movie "The Birth of a Nation," which is credited with rekindling the Ku Klux Klan.

The University of Mississippi, whose Pride of the South Band had played the song and become synonymous with it since 1948, stopped playing it in 2016.

Community members who support keeping the song say it's a symbol of Refugio's tradition and unity.

The issue has caused debate in the Refugio community, whose high school football team has a significant number of black and Latino players, to the point where some football team parents are threatening to keep their student-athletes out of Friday's game.

The Bobcats face off against Shiner at 7:30 p.m. at Converse's Judson Stadium, outside San Antonio, in the Region 4 semifinal.

This is a developing story. Check back with KRIS 6 News for more updates.