Progressive folk singer Joan Baez championed racial equality and participated in the civil rights struggle. Why would she sing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” a song that sympathizes with the Confederacy, on a frequent basis?

Progressive folk singer Joan Baez championed racial equality and participated in the civil rights struggle. Why would she sing “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down,” a song that sympathizes with the Confederacy, on a frequent basis?

 

Just as low-wage Yankees fought in the struggle to keep the Union together, even though many didn’t care about slavery or how free Blacks were treated in the North, perhaps it was done out of sympathy for the poor whites in the South who never had the money to own slaves but still thought it was their duty and suffered.

 

Perhaps due of the complexity of life.

It may also have been interpreted as a hymn against war, emphasizing how, even a century ago, conflict destroyed lives without regard for right or wrong and frequently did so in a blink of an eye. Regardless of their stance during a conflict, those living in rural areas inevitably suffer. Fighting destroys crops, and starving soldiers destroy their families, houses, and supplies. In addition, the majority of Americans—Republican or Democrat—do not understand the COVID variations or the reasons for Donald Trump’s loss in the election, nor do they understand the reasons behind our military involvement in Korea, Vietnam, or Richmond.

 

 

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