Posted on August 21, 2019

City Will Drop Dixie from Winston-Salem Fair Name. ‘Words Matter’ Argument Wins Out over Criticism of Symbols over Substance

Wesley Young, Winston-Salem Journal, August 19, 2019

The Winston-Salem City Council voted Monday to change the name of the Dixie Classic Fair, leaving open for now the question of what the new name will be.


The fair has been called the Dixie Classic Fair since 1956. On Monday, more than 60 people packed the council chamber at City Hall, and a spillover crowd occupied a nearby conference room to watch on a video link.


“I thank the council for making the right choice today,” said the Rev. Kia Hood-Scott, a member of Union Baptist Church. The church’s senior pastor, Bishop Sir Walter Mack Jr., was one of the leaders of the effort that began in April to change the name of the fair, but was not able to make it to Monday’s meeting.

Kris McCann, a speaker opposed to the change, said that {snip} “A majority of the people spoke, and spoke loud and clear,” McCann said, referring to surveys that showed an overwhelming majority of people against changing the name.

Advocates of a change have called the name Dixie a reminder of the Old South, slavery and segregation. Opponents have said that the word is a regional identifier and appears in all kinds of contexts from Dixie cups to Dixie Chicks.


Adams, before the vote, told how she couldn’t go to the Dixie Classic when she was little because of segregation.

“You don’t understand our pain because of these words that matter,” she said.

Larson said that {snip} the word Dixie used in so many aspects of Southern culture is “not a celebration of slavery.”


Bishop Sir Walter Mack Jr.