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Georgia's Redcoat Band replacing 'Tara's Theme' with 'Georgia on My Mind'

The Georgia Redcoat Band's traditional postgame concert after Bulldogs football games will have a new ending this fall.

Acting director Brett Bawcum said he notified music school officials that they are "ending performances of 'Tara's Theme,' effective immediately, and replacing it as our signature with 'Georgia on My Mind.'"

"Tara's Theme" was the opening music and theme from "Gone with the Wind," the 1939 film set in the antebellum South. Filmmaker John Ridley, who won the Academy Award for his screenplay for "12 Years a Slave," wrote recently in the Los Angeles Times that it "is a film that, when it is not ignoring the horrors of slavery, pauses only to perpetuate some of the most painful stereotypes of people of color." HBO Max removed the movie temporarily from its streaming service, promising to return it with "context and framing."

Bawcum cited the band's decision to remove "Dixie" from its "Dixie Redcoat Band" name in 1971 as a reminder of changes in its past.

"The Redcoat Band is an example of how an institution can create, and also how it can correct, an environment that is unfriendly for Black students," Bawcum wrote.

He said the tradition had been under discussion for months, but "the current social climate has highlighted the urgency of addressing it," he said. "I value tradition, but I value creating a welcoming environment much more."

Also on Wednesday, the University System of Georgia announced that it had formed an advisory group to review the names of buildings and colleges on all of its campuses.

On June 2, the school newspaper, The Red & Black, cited the Grady School of Journalism, named for outspoken white supremacist Henry Grady, as one example that should be discussed.

"This action today is a step toward addressing how communities understand the history and context involving our campuses," USG chancellor Steve Wrigley said. "While the review may be one part of a much broader discussion, I believe it is essential to advance how we serve students and all Georgians."

Bulldogs coach Kirby Smart issued a statement in favor of the study.

"As both a UGA alum and the head football coach, I fully support the USG Board of Regents and chancellor's decision," Smart said. "This is an important first step in the right direction to help us evaluate our history and work to bring us closer together."