The Sigma Alpha Epsilon fraternity’s good name has been effectively dragged through the mud after the revelation of the OU SAE racist chant video. Now it appears that the national SAE is attempting to remove connections to its pro-Confederate past in light of the spectacle that appeared in the viral clip.
Despite the SAE’s public stance that the Greek-letter organization is not racist, it appears that some links to a past that supported racism and segregation did exist. The team over at Gawker did some expert digging and found that the key language on the SAE’s website has been scrubbed but, as most know, the Internet is forever.
Using the Wayback Machine, Gawker was able to pull up cached pages from the page and noted the epic differences. Prior to this, Think Progress highlighted the SAE’s proud boasting of its connection to the Confederacy and the founding of the fraternity during the Antebellum period.
More from Gawker:
Prior to this week, SAE’s official website was open and proud about its deep connection to America’s confederate states. Here is how the site’s “History” page opened prior to this week:
‘Sigma Alpha Epsilon was founded on March 9, 1856, at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa, Alabama. Its founders were Noble Leslie DeVotie, Nathan Elams Cockrell, John Barratt Rudulph, John Webb Kerr, Samuel Marion Dennis, Wade Hampton Foster, Abner Edwin Patton, and Thomas Chappell Cook. Their leader was DeVotie, who wrote the ritual, created the grip, and chose the name. Rudulph designed the badge. Of all existing national social fraternities today, Sigma Alpha Epsilon is the only national fraternity founded in the antebellum South.’
That is pulled from the Wayback Machine, which last archived the page on Feb. 3 of this year. If you visit it now, you’ll notice that the final sentence—which touts SAE as the only one of America’s fraternities formed in the antebellum South—has been lopped off completely.
As history notes, the Antebellum period in the confederate states was a time of high wealth sparked by the insistence of those within the Confederacy to uphold slavery and ignore the wishes of the Union in the north. The deep wounds of Jim Crow segregation and discrimination have endured since then, and the SAE wasn’t shy about being born from that period where Blacks were severely oppressed.
Time will tell if the SAE will bounce back from this flurry of controversy, but it looks bleak thus far.