Preserving the lost cause through "Dixie's football pride" : the Birmingham News' coverage of the Alabama crimson tide during the core of the civil rights movement, 1961-1966
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This study examines college football's role in redefining the American South's regional identity in the century following the Civil War. During this time, southern college football began to resonate in many respects with the Lost Cause -- a set of exaggerated beliefs memorializing the Confederacy's defeat -- due to the sport's shared traditions with the Old South's values of masculinity, honor, and chivalry. Growing tired of national media's backward stereotypes, the University of Alabama's victory over the University of Washington in the 1926 Rose Bowl presented much of the South with the illusion that "northern values" were nonessential components in keeping pace with the rest of America's progress. The reviewed literature provides a historic account of the Deep South and the evolution of southern college football in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries in order to place the state of Alabama and its Crimson Tide football program within the proper sociocultural context for this study. Guided by framing theory, a textual analysis was conducted on 1,407 articles written by the Birmingham News Crimson Tide sportswriters during each college football season between 1961 and 1966. The analysis reveals how the News framed its coverage of arguably the greatest college football dynasty of all time, while the rest of Alabama faced more national scrutiny than any other state for such violent responses to the "threat" of racial equality
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