Thursday, November 17, 2011

SEC Dixie-nary: D is for Dixie

D is for Dixie

Eleven of the 12 long-standing SEC members are located in states that officially seceded and joined the Confederate States of America.

Kentucky and Missouri were both considered border states, with divided loyalties among the populace.

Texas also was of divided loyalty, mostly being loyal to Texas. Nothing much has changed in that regard in the past 150 years.

Is Missouri a "southern" state? (or perhaps I should ask if "Missourah" is a southern state.

Regimental flag of the 8th
Missouri cavalry (Union Army
(Missouri Civil War Museum)
Some have called Missouri the most northern southern state - and others call it the most southern northern state. Southeast Missouri, in the Cape Girardeau and boot-heel areas, have more in common culturally with their neighbors in Kentucky, Tennessee and Arkansas than they do with more northern parts of the state. The southern Ozarks (Springfield / Branson) share more in common with Arkansas than they do with Columbia.

The Tiger mascot of the University of Missouri was actually chosen "in honor of a Missouri Union militia unit that guarded the area of Columbia, Missouri (MU’s hometown) as well as the university itself during the American Civil War. The true “Missouri Tigers” were a Union “Home Guard” militia unit made up of local men from the area around Columbia. Their duties were to protect the University of Missouri and the area from approaching Confederate forces, pro-Confederate guerillas, desperadoes and others that may have threatened the area." (

On the other hand, many SEC fans would probably be surprised to learn that Columbia sits in the middle of a section of Missouri known as "Little Dixie".

The Little Dixie Conference,
comprised of small town schools in
the area surrounding Columbia, MO.
Wikipedia actually has a good description of the historical reasons for that designation:
Little Dixie is a 13- to 17-county region of Missouri found along the Missouri River, settled primarily by migrants from the hemp and tobacco districts of Kentucky, Virginia, and Tennessee. Today, the region identifies with the Midwest, but because of Southerners settling there first, the pre-Civil War culture closely paralleled that of the Upper South. When the Southerners resettled in Missouri, they brought their cultural, social, agricultural, political and architectural practices; they also brought enslaved Africans and their descendants, from whom they extracted forced labor and thus accumulated wealth. On average Missouri’s slave population was only 10 percent, but in Little Dixie, county and township slave populations ranged from 20 to 50 percent, corresponding to the concentration of large plantations along the river.
As I've said elsewhere, Mizzou's position as the northernmost SEC school could offer a recruiting advantage for some prospects, if they're attracted to playing in the SEC but would rather spend three years in Little Dixie than BIG Dixie.

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