Earlier this week, a group of ministers asked the City Council to consider changing the name of the Dixie Classic Fair. I support what Rev. Bishop Sir Walter Mack Jr. and Love Out Loud proposed. But it wasn’t what Mack and other ministers said at last week’s General Government Committee meeting that drew my attention; it was how they said it.
Local ministers in Winston work within the system and seldom speak a discourteous word to the Mayor and City Council. I prefer the tone Hate Out of Winston took when they stood up to the City Council earlier this year. Or the direct action a conscientious vandal took when she/he wrote on the Confederate statue that used to be at Fourth and Liberty on Christmas Eve.
But the ministers of this town know who butters their bread. They know not to upset their funders at City Hall. That being said, for the sake of self-preservation, it’s important they take the lead, that the public recognizes them as the city’s moral conscience; that’s a key aspect of their business model. And look all around East Winston, there are churches everywhere, religion may be East Winston’s most economically dynamic sector. Winston’s ministers, with a few notable exceptions, sat on the sidelines while non-church affiliated activists demanded that the City move and or destroy a Confederate statue that stood in Downtown Winston for far too long.
But now the ministers are back in the forefront. They rightfully are calling for the term “Dixie” to be removed from the Dixie Classic Fair. Dixie is a romanticization of a racist period. It shouldn’t matter that the name is well known and there are some challenges with promoting a new brand to the public. Dixie has got to go! Councilmember James Taylor was right in 2015 to suggest that the City’s fair should be renamed.
But what should the new name be? A few names were suggested by Mack and members of the City Council last week. Mayor Joines said that the term “classic” should remain, that it was a valuable part of the fair’s brand. But with insufficient time to rename the Dixie Classic before this autumn’s fair, I suggest a stop-gap measure. Let’s temporarily rename the Dixie Classic Fair the Donny Classic Fair, as a nod to Rep. Donny Lambeth. Only a few letters would have to be changed. It would be similar to when then Food Town changed their name to Food Lion in the early 1980s.
Donny Lambeth has done more to promote segregation and perpetuate white-rule than perhaps any other contemporary politician in Forsyth County. Going from Dixie to Donny would be a slight, cosmetic change. Representative Donny Lambeth wants to put his fingerprint on the WS/FC School Board and the City of Winston-Salem, why shouldn’t his name be on our fair as well? (Until a more appropriate name is chosen.)
When Donny Lambeth submitted bills HB490, HB518, and HB519 he took off the mask and made it know that he’s more than a partisan politician; he’s a neo-Dixiecrat. Donny wants the white status quo in Winston-Salem/Forsyth County to be maintained in perpetuity. That’s something that we can’t allow Donny Lambeth to have! But, let’s give him the fair (for a year) and keep Rep. Donny Lambeth at arm’s length from our school board and city council!