KA cancels 2010 Old South parade

Kappa Alpha’s president says the fraternity has canceled its annual Old South parade a year after the event was charged as racially insensitive following an incident involving a historically black sorority.

Mark Smith said the fraternity will release more details about their decision today.

It was not clear on Wednesday if the move was related to last year’s problems or if UA officials asked the fraternity to cancel the event.

The event has traditionally featured members dressed as Confederate soldiers and waving Confederate flags. Last year’s parade made a prolonged stop in front of Alpha Kappa Alpha sorority’s house as the historically black group was holding an event celebrating its 35th anniversary.

The incident upset many of the group’s alumnae, some of whom had attended the University during an era of deep racial tensions. Some of the women said it made them think nothing had changed at the University.

Sorority members said they requested an apology from Kappa Alpha members while the trucks were in front of the house but did not receive one. National and local fraternity leaders later apologized.

Following the incident, Alpha Kappa Alpha alumnae sent a letter to UA President Robert Witt asking him cancel all Old South events.

“It is our collective belief that a parade of Confederate flags and costumes … should not be permitted on any college campus that is truly dedicated to inclusiveness,” the letter said.

Efforts to obtain comment from UA leadership on Wednesday were unsuccessful. Gentry McCreary, director of greek affairs, declined to comment on the parade’s cancellation.

Kappa Alpha chapters hold Old South week celebrations to honor the men who founded the fraternity in 1865 at Washington College in Lexington, Va., according to information on chapter Web sites. Members dress in Confederate uniforms to honor founders who had fought for the Confederacy in the Civil War.

Joyce Stallworth, senior associate dean in the College of Education and a member of AKA, presented the sorority alumnae’s letter to Witt. She said Wednesday that she assumed the fraternity members worked closely with officials in the Division of Student Affairs to find a way to celebrate their founders.

“I trust that they are finding a way that commemorates their founders [that] is more in line with a positive campus climate,” Stallworth said.

More low-key elsewhere

Other chapters at Southeastern Conference universities have been tweaking how they celebrate Old South week.

Auburn University’s chapter of Kappa Alpha cancelled its traditional Old South parade in 1993 after police had to reroute the parade in 1992 to avoid a confrontation with students protesting the event.

At Louisiana State University, Kappa Alpha still holds a parade, but fraternity members wear the gray Confederate hats instead of a full uniform or jacket.

  • Thurston H. Hutchinson IV

    Alabama is following in UGA’s footsteps: Expand enrollment at the cost of parting with traditions. At least UGA got smarter.

  • Nancy Rhodes

    What is wrong with people. Where does the enjoyment of cruelty come from. Is it another legacy of slavery.

    The parade is narcissistic enough. But stopping to rub it in is sadistic.

    Cruelty and slavery are not to be celebrated unless you like making a joke of yourself.

    Another reason that at times I am embarrassed to be a white American living in Alabama.

  • Bennett Bloodworth KA DA 95′

    Fellas you just as well stand down and let yourself be walked over. You will not get the National office to stand behind you. Those spineless cowards in Lexington have forgotten all about the gentlemen who founded this order. All they are concerned with is being PC, laying down, and kissing up to the National Association of Always Complaining People.

    And Nancy You would do well not to make assumptions about something you have no clue about. The Traditions of Kappa Alpha Order have no ties to racism and have no motive of being cruel to anyone. I am sure there are people embarrassed that you are a white person living in Alabama as well.

  • Brittni

    That’s like cancelling a viewing of Gone with the Wind, because it features slaves. Good lord.

    Sorry world, you can’t be reminded about the South’s past.

    Just like Earl Smooter said in Sweet Home Alabama, “History’s history. No use sweeping it under the rug.”

  • UGA KA

    They’re just gonna do the same thing we did after canceling it a few years back. Take one year off then come back with khakis, white oxfords, and gray hats. Nothing else changed. We still fly the Confederate National flag.

    To claim that the parade is about slavery is somewhat unfair. We were told by the local NAACP that the following was racist: horses, cannons, the girls’ dresses, and the columns on our houses. At some point you have to get realistic. The Battle Flag was hijacked as a symbol by the KKk and that’s why we don’t fly it. The unis are a symbol of the war – I understand that. But to discount the entire era and claim everything that existed in the Antebellum South is racist, is simply unfair. KA has the right to celebrate an era of southern gentility and let’s be honest – it’s fun as hell, the girls love it, and everybody has a fun time. Trust me, nobody will care when the Parade rolls around next year.

  • John

    This is perversely sick. Why is it that AKA can celebrate their history, while KA cannot do the same with theirs?

    Nancy – I’m sorry, but you make no sense.

  • Billy Bearden

    AKA states

    “It is our collective belief that a parade of Confederate flags and costumes … should not be permitted on any college campus that is truly dedicated to inclusiveness”

    Er, that translates to simply -

    “We Prefer DISCRIMINATION over diversity and tolerance”

    Wow, whooda thunk that bias and exclusionary mandates would be dictated by a blacks only sorority? We DEMAND INCLUSIVENESS – with the exclusion of all we deem not of our liking.

    Hypocrites to the ‘enth degree.

  • Brett M. Poulos

    As a Member of Kappa Alpha Order, I think it’s absured that our National Office banned this time honored tradition..

    Why?

    Because the 4 founding members were all Southern men that fought in the Confederate Army..
    They all attended the College that was eventually co-named after Robert E. Lee.

    This tradition has been going on for 100+ years. I know guys that talk about their dad doing it, and his dad doing it.

    Granted, they shouldnt have stopped infront of AKA’s house, the tradition shouldn’t be stopped… I understand why they banned the Confederate Battle Flag in the 1990′s (because some people are too ignorant to understand that our ancestors actually fought and died for it)

    The National Fraternity is too deep rooted in Southern tradition to stop this classic parade/ball.

  • Richard

    Shame on them for caving in to political correctness. I’m sure all the Virginian dirt farmers who took arms against the North instead of being forced to turn on their country men are rolling over in their graves. Soldiers fight for their families and for their comrades. Perhaps we should harass those who sport Northern uniforms. Was there not virulent racism in the North, even in the military? People who cannot distinguish between the Confederate battle standard/uniform and the politics of slavery have want of a history lesson.

  • William

    Nancy,

    Just so you can be clear as you argue your point. The parade didn’t stop in front of the AKA house to rub in anything. If you are familiar with the The University of Alabama campus you would know that the AKA house is located in the middle of many other sorority houses. The parade stops at every house that has a girl that has been invited to the Old South events. They are picked up by their date and taken, via parade route, to the KA house. There was, nor ever has been, any ill intent in this parade. The only reason that we are having this discussion is because our society has grown far to sensitive. Let it go! Oh, by the way, I have seen this parade on several occasions and never have I seen the “battle flag”, which is what YOU associate with racism. In fact I would like to see how many of you could pick the national flag of the Confederate States of America out of a line up of current state flags.

  • MS

    This is not about black and white. Old south has been around for a long time and the fact that the parade passes by sorority houses black or white does not mean anything. I suggest you get your facts correct before publishing.

  • Sherry

    Shame on KA for canceling this parade. This is your heritage!When will people learn that the the war Between the States was not fought over slavery. There were many honorable men, black and white that fought for the South!

  • Jami

    I am ashamed at all of the insensitive and ignorant comments being posted here by “educated” college students. I am aware that this is Alabama with its rich history of racism cloaked in this notion of “tradition” and “heritage” I also understand the need to recognize history. However, to celebrate a war that was fought under the guise of states rights as a way to continue the abhorrent practice of enslaving human beings through the use of torture, rape, displacement, and many other forms of violence is disgusting. I know the notion of Political Correctness upsets many people who would like to continue these practices under this guise of tradition, but really its about progress, not political correctness. If the South is truly interested in eliminating the debilitating practice of racism then some concessions must be made. If KA were to be true to the history they are celebrating and paint a very honest picture then they should have some of the members of those “PC” historically Black sororities and fraternities to follow along behind their motorcade in chains. Now that would show the “tradition” and “heritage” of the “Old South” and Confederacy! Please Alabama, Stop the ignorance and move forward to the future.

  • Olivia

    As a black female on campus (and not a member of a “greek” organization), I applaud this move. For history’s sake, had the South won the war, I would not be a student at the university. Furthermore, the North DID WIN the war and it took 98 years for a black man and woman to be able to enroll in this very institution under the PROTECTION of the federal government. AKA’s do not want to strip the KA’s of their history, but there are less insensitive ways of celebrating that history. Those who complained understand the importance of celebrating history, heritage and hope the “fraternity members work [ed] closely with officials in the Division of Student Affairs to find a way to celebrate their founders.”

    Jami is correct in saying if the KA’s wanted to remember history of the antebellum days accurately, they would need to have members of the “PC” class of African Americans participating in chains. They’re creative, they’ll find someway of celebrating their heritage, while being inclusive instead of stigmatizing.

    …and as to a comment above…there are a rainbow of colors in the historically black sororities and fraternities of AKA, Alpha Phi Alpha, Phi Beta Sigma, & Delta Sigma Theta on this campus. Can we say that about the white fraternities and sororities? Think about it…

  • San Diego State Alum

    It truly is amazing to see how different things are from campus-to-campus. I believe that while it is important to remember the past and the history, it is equally as important to focus on and celebrate how far we have come and the current direction we are heading.

    Kappa Alpha Order at my alma mater was shutdown recently because they acted rather “debaucherously,” as other sources have stated. The one thing that they did do right was have a very diverse membership, much like all of the Greek organizations at SDSU. I’m not saying that we are “high and mighty” or anything like that, but I am saying that many of the so-called “white fraternities and sororities” don’t just consist of one ethnicity these days.

    In my fraternity, we had men that represented 11 different ethnicities.

  • Shane

    Olivia and Jami are typical of the selfish motives that exist in all those wishing to curtail traditions they seldom understand: they bemoan the waving of a flag that THEY deem as ‘racist’ without ever engaging in how these symbols relate to THOSE that immerse themselves in them. Symbolism is incredibly powerful and complex: appearances can be deceiving, have those that are offended ever asked a member of this fraternity what these symbols mean to them? How it relates to them? And most importantly, why it’s important to them? If, as you purport, inclusiveness is so important then clearly you must at least try and understand the meaning behind these parades, to do anything but that is pure provincialism, and that is the greatest irony of all this.

  • Brandon

    Shane, to not see that this is problematic is a severe oversight. I think you must not have ever been a student on this campus, either that or you are part of the majority that is blind to the racial divide on this campus. It may not be law, but a walk on this campus will tell you that UA is still very much segregated by some lingering, pervasive mentality. Go to the Ferg, see the sections of all black or all white, go to greek events from both sides, look at the racial makeup of non-greek organizations, look at the SGA.

    As far as the parade goes, would you be ok with a fraternity founded by Nazis parading around a campus to celebrate their heritage and then ,unintentionally or not,parading by a traditionally Jewish fraternity or sorority? However, I think that KA has every right to continue their parade, I just find it in poor taste. The thing is the civil war was fundamentally fought over the right to own slaves. Yes, there were other factors involved; Issues of State’s rights, loss of all economic stability,Lincoln being elected with no southern support etc, but the truth is if the south didn’t fear losing slavery the war probably wouldn’t have happened. Years before the war the south had been threatening to secede and concession after concession was made to appease the southerners, and keep power in the south.

    I think KA should be able to celebrate their heritage, but also recognize that their heritage also comes with stigmas and a history that still deeply hurts and offends people on this campus. If you really think that people are upset because we are ignorant to the meaning of these symbols, then why don’t KA inform us? Why not have some type of forum like many other organizations on this campus? The opportunities and the avenues are there why not use them? As a member of the greek community I have never seen KA reach out to any other organization outside of the traditionally white orgs. They don’t come to NPHC events, Multicultural Greek council events, or to pretty much any orgs events that don’t consist of a majority white membership. How can a dialogue and understanding be met if they refuse to associate with the people they offend?

  • Paul in N.AL

    I find that the most racist of the groups just happen to be the black segment of the population as they’re the most often offended by well everything. I’m hispanic and I guess I just have a thicker skin than most people. If that sorority is offended by college students with a different viewpoint, then wait ’til they graduate. They’ll be screaming racism at every point. Keep the Old South traditions alive, for if you don’t they’ll just find something else to nag about and be used as an excuse…see the Ole Miss case as an example, next up paper napkins which happen to be white. Most that scream about racism are almost always racist themselves.

  • Mary Potts

    Mr. Bloodworth,
    Well said!!
    Being proud of our heritage has nothing to do with racism or slavery. I will continue to celebrate and be proud of my Confederate heritage until the day I die!

  • MsRX

    the bottom line is if the frat and others continue to exhibit this ignorant behavior, they will be expired one way or the other. the administration’s just trying to save their lives. if they don’t value their lives, let them keep doing it.

    i find it hilarious and i doubt they’d do those things outside of the comfort of their little microcosm.

    scary, stupid backward hick imbeciles. we’d never know how beautiful and powerful black, native american and latino people are without them.

  • BamaBinoLover

    On the train of achievement, Alabama has always been the caboose. At least this stupid tradition has been banned.

    I am a southern gentlemen of Scots-Irish decent, whose lineage is as deeply rooted in the south as anyone’s could be. My family’s ancestry has plenty of folks who slaughtered yankees back in the day. Good for them, they served their country well and they did the right thing. However, this is a new day and the picture from the article makes me one to hurl a big one…

    Dressing up in Confederate garb while wearing your Costas and piling into the back of your Silverado is a blight on the school, nay, entire state. I don’t believe that we should bow down to revisionist history. A history that ignores the true cause of the War, federalism, or how America was the only Western civilization that ended slavery through bloodshed. Dressing up year after year in public looks kind of lame and achieves nothing. Why dwell on the past by dressing up and parading around like retards? Stand up for your family history and your beliefs but understand that there are those that view it differently and for just reason.

    We should instead act like we are proud of our history and stand up for it while at the same time showing respect for others and not giving the impression that we are a society that dwells on an event that is far, far away in the past. Those of us who actually travel around the country after graduation would appreciate it if we weren’t stigmatized by your redneck fratboy antics.

  • John

    Walk down to UA;s fine history department where some of the most respected Civil War historians are working and ask them what the Civil War was about. I dare any of you who say you are proud of confederate history to go do that. I understand its hard to think of your own ancestors in a negative way, but tthe fact si they fought for slavery. Does that make them bad people? No. Does that mean they were racist? No. They participated in something that was acceptable at that time but something that is not acceptable today. Therefore commemorating it is wrong for many reasons in addition to the fact it offends so many of our fellow students.

  • Jeb
  • Bama Grad

    It is very disappointing the read the comments to this story and realize that college-educated students can still be so misinformed about the deadliest conflict in our nation’s history. The debate over slavery raged in the Union States as well as the Confederate States. Truth is, the Confederacy ended the acquisition of slaves and phased out the practice of slavery in the Articles of Confederation. This was done long before the passage of the 13th Amendment. Learn your history, kids. – On another note, we judge that period of history by today’s sensibilities – how will history judge us with the way we allow abortion?

  • danielle

    i wonder would you all feel the same way if it were people “parading” around in Nazi Costumes instead of Confederate one. I understand your want to celebrate your heritage but at what cost. The way in which KA celebrates thier founders seems as though they are glorifying past ignorance. After all this is the south, and it is no secret that the Confederate Soldiers were fighting for slavery atleast in part. Stopping in front of the AKA house on a special night last year proves that they not only have respect for other greek organizations and have taken their celebration to a negative place!

  • George

    Bama Grad, please return to school and take a history class.

    Thanks.

  • UA

    Jeb,

    What was the point of your post? I’m confused.

  • Jon

    Time for some people to retake history. The war between the states was over states rights and the sucession from the union. Period! President Lincoln brought slavery into the war just before the battle at Gettysburg. How come the south is the first to be thought of when it comes to slavery. The british brought the first slaves to America when Jamestown colony was being developed. Brought over to help build the tabacco crops. The north had the most slaves and were very brutal towards them. Yes, the south had slaves. Most plantation owners treated them as family. The women helped raise the plantation owners children. They were given land, homes, clothing, food and yes, they were paid fo t their labor. Northern slaves had no shelter/ Most lived in the fields were they worked. No money, no food or water. Most northern slaves had to fend for themselves. If a northen slave escaped and was caught, they were chained and beaten or worse, whipped. Not to say that didnt happen in the south, but it was very rare.
    Now to modern day. Why should the Old South Parade be taken away? It should not. It is a way for us to celebrate our heritage and history. either side, Union or Confederate, they are verterans of this country. Just has the veterans of WWI, WWII, Korera, Veitnam, Gulf War, or Iraq. Are we going to take the largest Veterans Day parade in the U.S. away. NO! Are we going to stop the march crossing the bridge in Selma? NO! Is the Month of February going to be changed from black history month to just another month on the calender. NO! Its the month ot celebrate their heritage. Is there a white history month NO! Do we still celebrate Robert E. Lees birthday has a holiday for most office workers? NO! It is now Martin Luther King day. If you are keeping up, Black heritage 2, white heritage 0.
    I get criticizied for flying a Confederate battle flag on Robert E. Lees birthday. I have every right as an American to that very thing. My Great Grandfather fought in the civil war. That gives me every right to honor my family on that day, or any other day I see fit. I’m sorry these people thik they are owed anything iin life. They have their beliefs and heritage, why can I not have mine?

  • UA

    Jon,

    Please, please take a history class. I recommend HY 325 taught by Howard Jones.

    Thanks!

  • Charleston KA

    are you a fraternity man?

  • Jon

    Charleston KA I was DX at Jacksonville State.

    UA a little light reading for you! I’ll be happy to take the class as long as you sign up.

    On the causes of, and events leading up to, the war, see A. C. Cole, The Irrepressible Conflict, 1850–1865 (History of American Life series, Vol. VII, 1934; rev. ed. 1938, repr. 1971); G. F. Milton, The Eve of Conflict (1934); A. O. Craven, The Coming of the Civil War (1942, new ed. 1957) and Civil War in the Making (1959, repr. 1968); C. B. Dew, Apostles of Disunion: Southern Secession Commissioners and the Causes of the Civil War (2001).

  • UA

    I’ve taken the class already, so now you are free to sign up!

    If you have read the books like you suggest, why in the world do you think the cause of the war was NOT slavery?? Why exactly do you think the Southern states wanted independence from the Union? I’ll give you a hint – starts with an S.

    You are entitled to your opinion, but you should definitely get your facts straight.
    Best of luck to you.

  • UA

    Jon,

    I realize you did not read those books. So maybe a little light reading for you?

    http://www.infoplease.com/ce6/history/A0864532.html

  • brian

    UA, If the war was about slavery why didn’t Lincolns Emancipation Proclamation free slaves in the northern controlled areas. Stop listening to your liberal professors spout their revisionist history.

  • UA

    Good question Brian. Well, the Union was at war. Lincoln did not declare slavery the key issue in the war at first because he knew that if he lost the support of the border states the Union would likely lose. He believed above all else in the sanctity of the Union, but felt that slavery should end. And he knew that if the Union won the war, slavery would end in the U.S. (The 13th Amendment in 1865)

    The Union was not necessary fighting for the end of slavery, (Lincoln came to believe that the betterment of the Union would include the end of slavery) only for the survival of the Union. However, the Southern states seceded from the Union because they felt Lincoln’s presidency, among other actions by the Northern majority in government, would lead to the end of slavery.

    Southerner’s entire way of life was threatened. They fought and died for slavery.

    Now, if you have evidence to the contrary I would be very interested.

  • UA Greek

    Instead of focusing on the issue of true history vs. misinformed history, why don’t we all focus on the fact that KA was founded by confederate soldiers, period. Regardless of why the war was fought, KA was founded by confederate soldiers. The KAs should have the right to celebrate the fact that their fraternity was founded. Simply allowing them to dress like their founders dressed does not mean that they are racist. Furthermore, the KAs did not intentionally stop in front of the AKA house. They were simply picking up their dates from a sorority house across from AKA. If KA is looked down upon because of their parade, AKA should also be looked down upon for celebrating the fact that their founders attended an all-black college. Isn’t that a bit racist?

    And Danielle, genocide is a lot different than slavery.

  • Travis

    It is amazing how political correctness has warped everyone’s perception of reality.

    Unfortunately, because of this I must preface my statement with this disclaimer:

    I do not endorse racism or bigotry of any sort. I believe slavery was a barbaric practice that cannot be excused under any circumstances. I believe, that although the confederate flag represents far more than slavery, it is inappropriate and disrespectful to African Americans and thus has no place in any public place, anywhere in the United States.

    That being said, If you believe that Slavery was the focal point or one of the major causes of the Civil War, you are woefully misinformed. It is not up for debate. That is empirically and objectively false.

    A vast economic and cultural divide as well as vast tensions over the role of federalism were what caused the civil war.

    THE SOUTH DID NOT SECEDE FROM THE UNION OVER SLAVERY. IF YOU BELIEVE THIS, YOU ARE MISINFORMED.

  • Travis

    Jami, you have NO IDEA, what you are talking about:

    You wrote “War that was fought under the guise of states rights as a way to continue the abhorrent practice of enslaving human beings through the use of torture, rape, displacement, and many other forms of violence”

    Even though at the time of the Civil War, the average American had very little interest in slaves or slavery. Most Southerners were small farmers that could not afford slaves. Most Northerners were small farmers or tradesmen that had never even seen a slave.

    Please, everyone, quit being hypocritical. Educate yourselves. I think it was time for KA to stand up and accept that its 2010 and this type of thing probably shouldn’t be going on. However, that doesn’t make me blind to the fact that slavery was not a major cause of the American Civil War.

  • Scythian and proud

    On behalf of fellow Scythians, I wish to register my objection to the entire Greek system. Celebrating the enslavement of my ancestors as it does, it is offensive and should be abolished immediately.

  • ’97 Grad

    You guys think this is important to stand up for the traditions and gentleman who started this order, and all that. But give yourself 5 years outside of the bubble, and you will realise how silly all this is, and insulting to some degree. I guess priorities in life change from when you are shaggy haired, wearing kakhis and living the easy life to when you are 30, working, married, living in the big city with big ideas and issues. All the sudden, dressing like a confederate soldier and acting like its the good old south seems a little silly, and embarrassing. I use went to Bama, I saw it all and went to some of these things. Use to have a little confederate flag on my jeep. Now, I wouldn’t be caught associating with that. Think about it, seriously. In 5-6 years, you will agree. Trust me.

  • KA NU

    I visited Birmingam Southern last year to go to one of my old highschool buddies Fraternity parties. He happens to be in the Order as well. Upon arrival he began to introduce me to all of his pledge brothers, one of them was particularly angry about the whole banning of the parades and uniforms situations. He presented sound arguments and I believe he would be an excellent spokesperson for the Kappa Alpha Order in the fight to bring back the celebrations that my father and I enjoyed so much. This brother that i met stood out to me because he was an African American. Wheat Barley.

  • UA kidd

    Well Im a student here at UA and I think the whole thing is cool. I don’t get offended by the flag, my God, IT’S FABRIC!!….the uniforms, the dresses, the parade….none of it offends me at all!! Gone With the Wind is my FAVORITE movie!!….I think Kappa Alpha should be allowed to have their parade, why not? If you dwell on the past you can’t move to the future….and them having their parade is not gonna make me feel as if slavery is gonna make a comeback….hell it was my ANCESTORS that were slaves, NOT ME!!….and not even all of my ancestors….im light-skinned! (so SOMEBODY in my family was a slave owner!!))….Stopping in front of the AKA house was a bit much, just don’t do it again! (duh!) and as far as AKA being an ALL BLACK sorority, that’s untrue, its PREDOMINATELY black, there are many WHITE members of Alpha Kappa Alpha!!….so let’s get ALL of the facts straight before we comment!

  • Lilly

    What a joke. The most courageous and worthy Southerners died during the Civil War. The notion that these idiotic boys could stand in comparison to the men who fought and died for their country on behalf of the South (ignoring the issue of slavery) is a sham. One day, they will grow up and learn what it means to be a real gentleman, and to have true honor.

  • Anonymous

    this is really stupid. race doesnt matter. UA needs to ignore the whole topic, they built towers in honor of black students for god’s sake. who the hell cares if they were black?! i wish i coulda been in that parade. we need to make a statement, which is if you give them special notice, were gonna give them negative notice as well.

  • Anonymous

    The greatest thing about this country is freedom of speech and freedom of expression. If you don’t like Confederate parades, Nazi parades, or whatever it may be, you are not required to attend.

  • Anonymous

    Dumb southern hicks….

  • Anonymous

    dumb hicks…