GREENVILLE, S.C. (WSPA)- Greenville high school is replacing the lyrics “Dixie Land” in their alma mater, after a committee decided it was racially divisive.
Written in 1921, Greenville High School sang the same alma mater in their football stands, at graduations and pep rallies.
Alumnus Ralph Boudon said, “When we sang the alma mater as students, well you’re proud of your school and you sing the alma mater with pride.”
The first nine words of the alma mater read, “There is a school we love in Dixie Land.”
Years ago, a group of students noticed how uncomfortable they were with the lyrics, “Dixie Land”, because of its offensive nature to people of color.
“About 50 years ago in 1970, some student council members requested that it change then,” Principal Jason Warren said.
Back then, the school board denied their hopes for a new song.
However, now change is coming.
“If it’s not representative of all the students we need to look at improving the wording in some way,” Boudon said.
A committee of current Greenville High students, staff and alumni spent a year talking about the song and how to make it something everyone, of all races, would be proud to sing.
Warren said, “That there is no worry that any student does feel marginalized or that feels awkward or not a part of the school.”
Now, the new lyrics are a tune of unity.
“There is a school, we love and hearts belong, ’tis Greenville High, to which we sing this song.”
Warren said, “It reminds people that is why we’re singing this song. We’re not singing the song for any particular word or class or group. We’re singing it because we love Greenville High.”
The new lyrics are on the Greenville High School website and Warren is encouraging every student to start practicing.
The first time the brand new alma mater will be sung is at the 2021 graduation ceremony on May 22nd.