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Journal Article

"Heart of Dixie" on the Alabama License Tag: Where Did it Come From and Does it Represent the Past, the Future, or Both?

Robert C. George and Gerald R. Webster
International Social Science Review
Vol. 72, No. 1/2 (1997), pp. 33-49
Stable URL: http:/stable/41882227
Page Count: 17
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"Heart of Dixie" on the Alabama License Tag: Where Did it Come From and Does it Represent the Past, the Future, or Both?
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Abstract

In 1954, the United States Supreme Court decided the landmark case Brown v. the Board of Education, Topeka, Kansas ordering public schools to desegregate. In 1955, the State of Alabama designed a new license plate containing the slogan "Heart of Dixie." This paper attempts to answer the question of whether or not these two events have any connection. During this period opponents to desegregation used many different symbols and icons to show their disgust for the federal government (e.g., the Confederate flag and the song "Dixie"). Did the plate designers intend the slogan as a symbol of their opposition to the court's order to desegregate the public schools? Did the public interpret the plate as a symbol of the massive resistance to the court decision? The license plate has continued to include the slogan but it no longer dominates the plate. Is there a relationship between the shapes, sizes, and dominance of the slogan and changes in public opinion pertaining to civil rights? A review of Alabama publications during the study period offers an interesting perspective.

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