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What does antebellum mean? Lady Antebellum definition searches on the rise after popular band's name change

The band says they'll "move forward as Lady A."

A popular country band is making a big change to its name due to its association with the Civil War.

Lady Antebellum says it will now go by the name "Lady A."

Here is Merriam-Webster's definition antebellum:

: existing before a war

especially : existing before the American Civil War

PBS, Wikipedia and other sources explain how the term Antebellum South is associated with slavery and the treatment of African Americans prior to the civil war:

"African Americans were enslaved on small farms, large plantations, in cities and towns, inside homes, out in the fields, and in industry and transportation.

Though slavery had such a wide variety of faces, the underlying concepts were always the same. Slaves were considered property, and they were property because they were black. Their status as property was enforced by violence -- actual or threatened. People, black and white, lived together within these parameters, and their lives together took many forms.

Enslaved African Americans could never forget their status as property, no matter how well their owners treated them." — PBS

RELATED: Country group Lady Antebellum changes band name over word's association to slavery

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Lady A's statement on June 11, 2020

Dear Fans,

As a band, we have strived for our music to be a refuge…inclusive of all. We’ve watched and listened more than ever these last few weeks, and our hearts have been stirred with conviction, our eyes opened wide to the injustices, inequality and biases Black women and men have always faced and continue to face everyday. Now, blindspots we didn’t even know existed have been revealed.

After much personal reflection, band discussion, prayer and many honest conversations with some of our closest Black friends and colleagues, we have decided to drop the word “antebellum” from our name and move forward as Lady A, the nickname our fans gave us almost from the start.

When we set out together almost 14 years ago, we named our band after the southern “antebellum” style home where we took our first photos. As musicians, it reminded us of all the music born in the south that influenced us…Southern Rock, Blues, R&B, Gospel and of course Country. But we are regretful and embarrassed to say that we did not take into account the associations that weigh down this word referring to the period of history before The Civil War, which includes slavery. We are deeply sorry for the hurt this has caused and for anyone who has felt unsafe, unseen or unvalued. Causing pain was never our hearts’ intention, but it doesn’t change the fact that indeed, it did just that. So today, we speak up and make a change. We hope you will dig in and join us.

We understand that many of you may ask the question “Why have you not made this change until now?” The answer is that we can make no excuse for our lateness to this realization. What we can do is acknowledge it, turn from it and take action.

We feel like we have been Awakened, but this is just one step. There are countless more that need to be taken. We want to do better. We are committed to examining our individual and collective impact and making the necessary changes to practice antiracism. We will continue to educate ourselves, have hard conversations and search the parts of our hearts that need pruning—to grow into better humans, better neighbors. Our next outward step will be a donation to the Equal Justice Initiative through LadyAID. Our prayer is that if we lead by example…with humility, love, empathy and action…we can be better allies to those suffering from spoken and unspoken injustices, while influencing our children and generations to come.

Love,

Lady A
Hillary, Charles & Dave

PS - This is a work in progress so thank you for being patient with us while we work to make these changes.