Utah "Remember," says photographer Greg Woodall, "when enviros and liberals were the ones who were 'anti-this and anti-that'?" Courtesy Greg Woodall.
What's in a name? If the name is Dixie State College, based in St. George, Utah, it's nothing to sneeze at. Recently, as the college began moving closer to becoming a university, locals saw this as the perfect opportunity to sever any connection to the South's history of slavery and racism. Defenders countered that the name most likely derived from pioneer attempts to grow cotton in southwest Utah. Besides, they say, hundreds of local businesses pride themselves on the so-called "Dixie Spirit" of friendliness. Perhaps the name has good intentions, but as the daily Spectrum pointed out, the history of the college also includes hosting mock slave auctions, flying Confederate flags and erecting a statue honoring Confederate soldiers. Spectrum columnist Sally Musemeche talked to lots of people about the issue, and many were baffled and saddened that anyone would be offended by such things, or by a sports team named "The Dixie Rebels." "Only the over-sensitive" could possibly read racism into this, they said; Dixie really means "the spirit of independence." If that's true, Musemeche suggested, then the college ought to start celebrating the state's own civil war -- an armed confrontation between the Mormon settlers in the Utah territory and the armed forces of the U.S. government, which lasted from May 1857 until July 1858: "Go, Dixie!"