Great reading here from Terry Frei, author of a book on the Arkansas-Texas Big Shootout in 1969, about black students’ plan to storm the field if the Arkansas band played Dixie, which had been customary until that day.
After the students’ long campaign against the use of the song as the Razorbacks’ unofficial anthem, the Student Senate only a few days earlier in a non-binding vote had recommended that the band drop it from its playlist, and band director Richard Worthington said he would honor that.
Yet nobody was certain that rogue band members wouldn’t play the song, anyway. Plus, a Faculty Senate committee had proposed a ridiculous compromise, suggesting the band play “Dixie” in the first half of the Texas game as a final curtain call, but never again. The song had many defenders on the Arkansas campus and beyond. (The book’s subtitle, Texas vs. Arkansas in Dixie’s Last Stand, had multiple meanings.)So there was no protest. And there’s no telling what might have happened had it occurred. Lots of familiar names in this account, including one Wendell Griffen, a member of the ROTC color guard, who said he was prepared to toss down the U.S. flag if the Confederate anthem was played.
The familiar names that pop up in this account include now-Judge Wendell Griffen, then a member of the ROTC color guard, who said he’d have tossed the American flag to the ground had “Dixie” been played. Imagine.
“Dixie” wasn’t played. There was no demonstration. A war protest DID unfold in view of the assembled political dignitaries. And Texas won 15-14, with NIxon watching.