Resistance to SLBI and Counter-Movements at Clemson

In response to the efforts of the Student League for Black Identity (SLBI) to remove the Confederate flag and the playing of “Dixie” at Clemson University athletic events, a large movement to retain these symbols as what they saw to be an essential part of Clemson’s spirit and tradition. On Wednesday, October 29, 1969, a “petition asking for the retention of ‘Dixie’ and the Confederate flag at home football games” was begun by students on campus and within the first day, had over one-thousand signatures (“Flag Petition,” The Tiger, October 31, 1969).

The leaders of this student movement took to voicing their objections in The Tiger in a letter to the editor on October 31, 1969 saying:

“You have deliberately refused to open your eyes and minds to the fact that you are just as offensive and remind them just as much of years of suffering… as the Confederate flag and ‘Dixie’ are these things to you… However, there are more, many more people whom you offend than does these traditions… They have been here for many more years than you and will remain long after you are gone if the majority of students have their say about the matter.”

The petition acquired much student support and after one week, had over three-thousand student signatures. Through statements in The Tiger, the petition group highlighted that they wanted the decision to be put to a student vote so that the majority could decide, believing that only a few students were actually opposed to the flag and “Dixie.” This particular petition made it to the student Senate within a week where it would cause controversy throughout the student body and across campus over issues of “majority suppression.”.

Unfortunately, not all resistance to the SLBI’s efforts were done through institutional and written means. Unofficial student groups were formed and alumni often worked to counter the black student movement through writing to various administrators and sometimes taking action into their own hands.

Bibliography:

Forth, Mike. “Petition for Flag, ‘Dixie’ Signed by 3,300 Students.” The Tiger Vol. LXIII No. 12 (November 7, 1969), 1.

"Flag Petition," The Tiger Vol. LXIII No. 11 (October 31, 1969), 1.

“Majority Suppression,” The Tiger Vol. LXIII No. 12 (November 7, 1969), 2.

Richards, John and Sandy Edge. “Letter to the Editor,” The Tiger Vol. LXIII No. 11 (October 31, 1969), 2.

University, Clemson, "Taps (1969)" (1969). Yearbooks. 67. https://tigerprints.clemson.edu/yearbooks/67

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