Sunday, February 10, 2013

The Southern Influence in St. George, Utah

Since I don't live in Utah I haven't followed the ongoing debate about the name of Dixie State College in St. George. Back in the 1950s or 1960s, the school very unwisely adopted the "Rebel" as its mascot and made other connections to the culture of the Confederacy which made some people erroneously think that use of the name "Dixie" for Washington County, Utah, had something to do with the Confederate South.

The Salt Lake Tribune printed an unfortunate article in early December with a number of incorrect facts and conclusions about the early settlers of Southern Utah. I immediately started to write a response, but it got delayed due to the holiday and other things. It finally went up this week on Keepapitchinin, the Mormon History Blog.

(I didn't want to send it to the Tribune, since the comments there can be vicious and off-topic. A noted Mormon scientist and historian wrote a response to the Tribune article that was published on January 1, and despite the fact that he has done some very valuable work on the topic of race in the Church, commenters proceeded to call him a racist and cast all sorts of other aspersions. So I arranged to post the response in a more respectable forum.)

Here's the post. (And be forewarned that I link to the Tribune article, and the Tribune article contains disturbing content.)

As I noted in the comments, I was careful to address the response to the Tribune and not anyone named or quoted in the article. I also tried to be very careful only to address the points raised in the article since the story really is more complex than is possible to cover in a blog post.

Picture of the Virgin River and Mount Moroni from Zion National Park on Flickr, used under a Creative Commons license.

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