161 years ago on April 4th, 1859
The Civil War anthem 'Dixie' debuts in New York as part of a blackface minstrel show
The debut was held at Bryant's Minstrels theatre at 472 Broadway, which today is part of SoHo. The song would go on to become both one of Abraham Lincoln's favorite songs and the de-facto anthem of the Confederate south, sometimes with altered lyrics. Songwriter Daniel Decatur Emmett reportedly told a fellow minstrel that "If I had known to what use they were going to put my song, I will be damned if I'd have written it." The song was played at the inauguration of Confederate President Jefferson Davis in 1861 and Lincoln requested the song be played again after accepting the Confederacy's surrender five years later.