What's the true meaning of Dixie? A Knoxville historian weighs in

We read a lot of opinions on our Facebook page about Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede dropping "Dixie" from its name. So what are the actual historical origins of the word?

Dolly Parton is nixing the word "Dixie" from the name of her popular dinner theater show Dixie Stampede, and it has a lot of people talking.

More than 1,100 people have commented and shared our Facebook post about the story, and the reactions are passionate.

They range from many saying they are going to boycott any and all Dolly Parton attractions.

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MORE: 'Dixie' dropped from name of Dollly Parton's dinner show

But on the other hand, some say it was simply a business decision.

Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede will drop "Dixie" from it's name for the 2018 season of the attraction.

"Where the word Dixie came from is kind of a mystery," Knoxville historian Jack Neely said.

Much like many parts of history, Dixie has a murky past.

"We tend to look at history to tell us what makes us different from other people in the world," Neely said.

That's why our Facebook post about Dolly Parton's Dixie Stampede dropping Dixie from its name brought out so many opinions.

But we wanted to ask—what's the history behind this word that has charged so many people up?

"That's one theory—that the Mason-Dixon line is what makes the north different from the south, and that dixie comes from Dixon," Neely said.

Neely also shared a second theory.

"There was some paper money, a $10 bill printed in New Orleans, because it was in New Orleans, they used the French word 'dix,' which is pronounced 'deese' in French," he said.

Americans mispronounced the word, which eventually turned into Dixieland, referring to New Orleans.

"But who knows really? I don't know where the word Dixie comes from," Neely said.

Neely said Sevier County, where the Dixie Stampede has held shows for years, was actually heavily pro-Union during the war.

"It's certain that there are more Confederate flags in Sevier County today than there ever were during the Civil War, by many thousands," Neely said.

Neely encourages everyone to research history so you can have an informed opinion about a crucial time in our country's history.

"It's been 400 years since European people have been living here, and African people have been living in the south and we keep concentrating on this one, crazy, confusing four-year period that even the people at the time were completely perplexed by," Neely said.

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