Georgia NAACP wants high school to drop the nickname ‘Rebels’
By Dr. Sinclair Grey III
After the shooting massacre by Dylan Roof at Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church in Charleston, S.C. in June, conversation as well as controversy has surrounded the Confederate flag. In addition to that, when the Confederate flag was removed from South Carolina’s Capitol, crowds cheered because of the negative symbol the flag represents. On the other hand, those who are members of the Sons of the Confederate believed their history was being erased and have sought to make their viewpoints known through social media as well as marches.
In a move that happened a couple of months ago in the state of Georgia, Governor Nathan Deal ordered that Confederate license plates be redesigned. However, he didn’t specify how the flag should or shouldn’t be used.
At the forefront of more controversy surrounding the Confederate flag and its symbolic meaning, the Georgia NAACP is asking for Effingham County High School to change its schools nickname ‘Rebels.’ Why? Because the name is connected with the Confederacy during the Civil War.
According to an article in the Atlanta Journal Constitution, Georgia’s NAACP President Francys Johnson points out, “It’s time for the Confederate flag and the glorification of rebel culture that fought to maintain slavery and Jim Crow as an economic and social order to surrender. If we want closure on a 150-year-old chapter in American history, we must unite under the American flag as true patriots.”
However, everyone in Effingham County is not in agreement with the NAACP’s position. Members of the community, which is located near Savannah have posted a petition on Change.org to keep the nickname. They believe the nickname ‘Rebels’ isn’t racist but a part of their Southern heritage. So far, there are 7,300 supporters.
“Johnson noted that students display the Confederate flag on the playing field while the school band plays “Dixie.” His office issued a statement (pdf) about the negative impact of these symbols of the Confederacy.
The school board will announce their decision later.
Dr. Sinclair Grey III is an activist, speaker, writer, author, life coach and radio/television talk show host (Tuesdays at 7 pm). Contact him at www.sinclairgrey.org, firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @drsinclairgrey