Make plans now to attend a public hearing on the "Rebel" nickname at South Stanly County (NC) High School. The meeting will be held on Thursday night, 22 July, at 6:30 PM in the Stanly County Commons Room in Ablemarle NC. See the announcement in the Stanly News & Press below. The meeting room is located at 1000 N. First Street in Albemarle. For further details or directions, please contact Paul Burr, Commander of the James-Younger Camp #2065, North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, at (704) 474-7603 or via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org
The situation at South Stanly has provoked a storm of responses, as seen in this cartoon from the Stanly News & Press: Snap6 Many of the letters to the editor are also reproduced below. You can respond to of the Stanly News & Press at PO Box 488, Albemarle NC 28002, by fax to (704) 983-7999, or via e-mail to email@example.com
Please continue to contact Stanly County school administrators and ask them to keep the "Rebel" nickname at South Stanly High School. Complain about the secrecy with which the name change decision has been conducted, and request that the opinion of the student body (which voted overwhelmingly 76% in favor of the Rebel nickname) be taken into consideration.
School administrators include:
– Superintendent Kenneth Edwards, Kenneth_Edwards@scs.k12.nc.us
– Board Chairman Mitchell Edwards, (704) 474-5898, firstname.lastname@example.org
– Board Vice-Chairman Melvin Poole, (704) 485-4720
– Board Member Sandee Lambert, email@example.com
– Mayor Darrel Almond, Chairman of the South Stanly Mascot Fact Finding Committee, (704) 474-3184 ext. 210, firstname.lastname@example.org
The Stanly News & Press
Thursday, July 8, 2004
SOUTH STANLY NEEDS TO MEET THE CHALLENGE BEFORE IT
In our editorial of June 3, we criticized the Stanly County School Board for their failure to allow a group of Americans to speak.
This group of former Stanly County and current educators wished to speak in support of their colleagues who had not been tendered new contracts.
We concluded "their voice should have been heard. The First Amendment says so."
On Tuesday evening, the School Board, to its credit, opened the floor to hear the voice of Paul Burr, Commander of the Sons of Confederate Veterans Camp #2065.
Burr was heard in support of retaining the South Stanly mascot name — "The Rebels" — just as Rev. Cecil Raysor, representing the Community Organization for School Transformation (COST), had been heard on June 1, speaking in opposition to "The Rebels."
Again to their credit, the School Board has called for a public forum
for Thursday, July 22, at the Commons Meeting Room at 7 p.m.
All from the South Stanly School District will be heard as this exercise in democracy is lived out among us. To be heard, all one has to do is be there at 6:30 p.m. and sign up to speak.
EDUCATION SHOULD BE TOP PRIORITY, NOT MASCOT
Congratulations to Derreck Huneycutt for his thoughtful, intelligent and articulate letter concerning the South Stanly mascot.
It is time for school systems to focus on the business of education rather than spending scarce time, money and resources in areas that may have limited contribution to the advancement of knowledge.
Evidence of this is demonstrated continually and no more so than the revisionist history lesson carried in this paper by the Stanly County history teacher.
We should support our education system rather than spending money on lawsuits that will not enhance the education of our future.
The money we save could help acquire and retain knowledgeable educators that produce model graduates, such as Jeff Poplin, an F-16 pilot, and Derreck Huneycutt, an ECU honor student.
Student Council President
SSHS Class of 1967
CORRECTING HISTORY TEACHER
I would like to address Pat Strickling’s three reasons for removing the name "Rebels."
1. The Confederacy was not a rebellion against the Constitution. There was no attempt to overthrow the government of the United States. The people of the sevel original Confederate States simply wanted to be left alone. They withdrew their consent to be governed, which was their right under the Constitution.
North Carolina and Virginia did not secede until Abe Lincoln declared war, illegally. Theirs was a battle against tyranny, plain and simple, and, yes, they lost and we are still paying for it today.
2. Confederate/Southern heritage is being wiped out all over this country at an alarming rate. These Confederates fought for the same reasons that George Washington fought: freedom from unfair taxation, freedom to decide for themselves what was best for their states, freedom from an oppressive and tyrannical government. We should all be proud to be called Rebels.
3. Have you ever considered the participation of black people in the Confederacy? You might have a Confederate ancestory yourself?
The first company of volunteers, totaling 109 men from Stanly County Co. H, 4th Regt. NCV/14th NCST, who were enlisted May 5, 1861, included four free black men — Harvey Reid, John Barbee, "Whit" Shankle and George A. Shankle. A fifth enlisted and was found to be only 16 years old and was discharged. James W. Shankle enlisted in Co. I, 52nd NCST at some later date and was mortally wounded in Gettysburg, dying three days later.
These men lived in Stanly County in 1861 and were black, yet they volunteered to go fight against the Yankee invaders.
You need to ask yourself and your students, "Why would these men go to war? Do you think they were trying to preserve slavery?"
The only reasons this has become a black versus white issue is because people like you, who are obviously misinformed, have made it so. It concerns me greatly that you are teaching a history you know little about.
Where does this leave the students? They are being taught propaganda, a politically correct version of history that makes Lincoln look like a hero, instead of the tyrant and racist that he really was.
To paraphrase Winston Churchill, "If we don’t know our history, we are doomed to repeat it."
HOW CAN YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT?
It has recently come to my attention that a name change was done in secret. This may not sound like much, but I can I am sure many will agree that that strikes us as "back room politics," which is very unprofessional.
I am not a member of your community or state, but I am aware of the political turmoil that is associated with the South and the history thereof, being a southern boy myself living in Colorado.
A few years ago, the University of Northern Kentucky also changed their mascot name of "Rebels" because of wanting to be politically correct.
I am just wondering two things with all this turmoil.
1) Do we know where the word rebel comes from? A lot of people will swear it is dealing with the Confederacy, which in a sense they are correct, but the true term comes from the British when they described us in the War of Independence in 1776; and
2) When is all this going to end being lackies and bow down to a few that want us to be politically correct.
For the life of me, I don’t know how anyone can sleep at night when they have to guard and watch every word or action so as not to offend.
T. Michael Wabnitz
Life Member SCV
Past Adjutant, Camp 1492
Chairman Weld County, Colorado
THE SOUTH DID NOT ‘REBEL’ AGAINST THE CONSTITUTION
I think the South Stanly Community and students should decide what their mascot should be. It makes no difference to me. I am not a racist, as those who know me can attest, but I am tired of being made to feel ashamed to be proud of my Southern heritage. Being proud of my Southern heritage does not mean I am a racist or want to return to the days of slavery.
My Southern pride is for the courage of the South to pull away from a government that was unfairly taxing them and trying to take away the rights their forefathers fought and died for (not just slavery).
A recent Letter to the Editor write made several statements that were incorrect. Since the winner of a war gets to write the history, that history usually is skewed in their favor.
The statement that really did it for me was that "The rebels of 1861 rebelled against the Constitution." That is totally untrue. If the writer was talking about slavery, from the early to mid 1600s until the ratification of the 13th amendment in 1865, it was a legal and accepted practice. This does not mean I approve of slavery, no man has a right to own another man, it is a statement of historical fact.
The rebellion was from the reduction of states’ rights and the transfer of power from the states to the Federal government, which was controlled by the North. More important to the South than slavery for the secession was the fact that NC, SC, VA, TN and GA were providing 75 percent of the tax revenue for the federal government. Due to the South being mostly agricultural and sparsely populated, there was very little government representation (sounds like excessive taxation without equal representation).
That great document — The Constitution — guaranteed the rights of states to secede from the Union but the North did not uphold the Constitution when they did not recognize the secession of the Southern States and illegally occupied and invaded their territory. The Southern States legally seceded from the Union and established their own legal and separate government. States’ rights were the reason for secession.
So, saying the South rebelled against the Constitution and the North upheld the Constitution is false. Had slavery been the only reason for secession, there probably would never have been a war.
Another statement was that states’ rights reared its ugly head over the tariff issues of the 1820s and 1830s. States’ rights were an issue from the time the Constitution was first drafted.
Our founding fathers were fearful of an all powerful central government and demanded a balance between state and federal governments. The tariff of 1828 was a direct attack on the South which suffered the brunt of the attack and greatly benefited the North. Had the tariffs not been repealed, the South would have seceded then.
The writer also states the South had chosen to remain agricultural. Well, geography had a lot to do with that; you can’t grow cotton for clothes and rice to eat in the North. Industrialization in the U.S. started in the North, due to the short growing season and massive wealth and remained there until the late 1800s. It was not necessarily a choice of the South to be agricultural.
Saying the rebel is a symbol of white, segregationist history must also mean the Libery Bell, the Constitution, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson are symbols of the same white, segregationist history.
I am outraged that racist groups and hate mongers have adopted the Confederate battle flag and the rebel image as their symbols, but I am not ashamed of my Southern heritage. Slavery is an ugly part of our country’s past, not just the South’s.
STUDENTS SHOULD VOTE ON MASCOT, JUST LIKE WE DID
I saw the article in the Stanly News & Press regarding the changing of the South Stanly High School’s mascot name.
In 1963 Norwood School and Aquadale School were consolidated and South Stanly opened in the middle of the school year of 1963. I was a student of the Class of 1964 and because the Class of ’64 was going to be the first full graduating class of the new school, the senior class was given the honor of voting on the new mascot name as well as the school colors, red and grey.
All seniors from both schools voted and agreed that "Rebels" would be a good name. When the name was chosen, no one asked us why we chose it. We had a new school and we were proud of it. It had nothing to do with segregation, slavery or racism. We were high school seniors with a new school of which we were very proud (and still are).
Personally, I think if the parents of the students would quit egging this matter on the students would be fine. But if the students want to change it, let it be their decision, not "Momma or Daddy" or anyone else that comes to a game and hears the word, "rebel" and feels offended. After all, the mascot name belongs to the students, not the parents, the School Board, the teachers, or any other club or organization.
Has anyone considered having the students vote as to whether they want to see the name of the mascot changed?
If they vote that they want to change the name, let the student body suggest mascot names and then vote on their mascot, just as we, the graduating class of ’64 did. It would mean so much more to the students than to have some committee select one for them.
If the word, "rebel" is offensive, then how long before we remove the word, "confederate" or any other word referring to the Civil War? It did occur, it’s part of our history, but it did not have anything to do with a class of seniors choosing a name for a mascot.
I also came from dirt farmers trying to defend their families, their land, and put food on the table and I’m proud of it.
AS CONTROVERSY LINGERS, STUDENTS CANNOT LEARN ABOUT REAL REBELS
The new South Stanly mascot, the "Fire Ants," offends me. I am offended because there are only red ants and black ants. There is no green ant, which is what I am … Green out of sickness and disgust. It has come to my attention over the last few years, and my experiences included, that there is a problem with the South Stanly mascot. It seems to be more important than the education that is supposed to be the main concern in a high school.
There are many "Rebels," rebels such as George Washington, Abraham Lincoln, Martin Luther King, Jr., and Caesar Chavez, who have all been rebels in the political world. These people had large backings and even larger opposition. But because of the limits of education in politics in light of arguments over a mascot, these people seem to have gone unnoticed.
There have been rebels such as Jesus Christ, Mohammed and Martin Luther as well as others in the religious world, but due to interference with quality educational time over something as ridiculous as a mascot, these people seem to have been overlooked as well.
There have been people such as Isaac Newton, Fredrick Douglas, Albert Einstein and the Beatles, but due to more attention over a mascot than education these people also seem to have been overlooked as "Rebels." Without education comes one thing and one thing only — ignorance. If people can not understand and overcome one issue in education, it tends to be hard to move on; so if the population of South Stanly can not move past a simple issue such as a mascot, how can we even start on education?
So whether the mascot stays the same or not, it will not affect me either way. No matter what, as with every decision ever made, someone will be offended. So send out all of the fact finding committees you want, but I can tell you the result of every one. Some will be offended by th change; some will be offended if not changed, because they all want to REBEL for their cause. That is, after all, what the word means, one in rebellion, and one who is defiant, not necessarily a Southerner from the Civil War. With such an argument over it and want for change, it seems that all people would take the name Rebel with pride. This leads to the argument, "Well, what about a real, dressed up mascot?" Sorry to disappoint you, but I played "Rebel" football for six years and I never once saw anyone dressed up as a Comet. So take it as you will. I hope you are all offended and all rebel, at least that way we’ll come together under what we are running from.
I hope that the problem of time consumption by something so minor will stop and allow South Stanly to get back to what school is really about … EDUCATION.
Go Fire Ants,
Former Student Body President
HISTORY TEACHER NEEDS A LESSON IN HISTORY
Pat Strickling stated he had taught history in Stanly county high schools for six years, and strongly alluded that it has been taught with historical accuracy.
With all due respect, she immediately created an oxymoron by interjecting statements of such ludicrous misunderstandings to substantiate her defense of what she views, and I assume, teaches her students as being historically correct regarding the War Between the States (1861-1865).
What she stated is very twisted and down right untrue and reeks with the revisionist spin that has been masterfully interwoven into the fabric of the public school system concerning that particular time in American history. Which is contrary to the truth according to the official records (documents) and penned down sentiments found in diaries, bibles, journals, letters etc. of the folks who experienced that unusual and soul changing time. Newspapers on both sides of the Mason-Dixon Line printed the same accounts. It’s amazing what you hear and read now-a-days (from educators teaching our children). No one of that period ever gave it a thought that the Southern states did not have the constitutional right to leave the union. The big question was: Did Lincoln have the authority under the constitution to force horrendous tariffs (taxes) on the Southern states and then invade their homeland after the choice was made to peacefully leave the union upon refusal of payment?
If it would have been over the perpetuation of slavery then the Southern states would have accepted the "skeleton in the closet" compromise offered by the Northern states in a last-ditch effort to resolve the constitutional crises of 1860-1861 by political negotiation. It was a document drawn up that would have made slavery legal forever had the Southern states agreed to it and remained in the union (this document can be found in the Congressional records of resolutions Dec. 18, 1860 joint resolution 8, No. 50).
The Confederate states in no way, legal or otherwise, rebelled against the constitution and for a "history teacher" to state such a thing is absurd. They were the "keeper of the faith" and upheld the principles of their Revolutionary forefathers, those other REBELS.
Paul Burr — Commander
James-Younger Camp #2065
Sons of Confederate Veterans
LET THE STUDENTS VOTE ON THE MASCOT
I was amazed by the news report that Principal Steve Hagen cowardly changed the nickname of South Stanly High School in his last official act. I trust that the Board of Education will not allow this to stand. (Editor’s Note: The board overruled Hagen’s decision during a meeting Tuesday night.)
This decision should be made by the South Stanly community, not by fly-by-night political climbers. By his actions, Hagen epitomizes the stereotypical "carpetbagger" — which is in fact the antithesis of "rebel," a name intended as a slur but honorably accepted and defended by the Confederate soldiers of Stanly County’s history.
The only way for this situation to be settled, once and for all, is to permit a fair and democratic vote by the student body: "Rebel," yes or no. Any name that is handpicked by administrators or outsiders will never be truly accepted by the students or the community of South Stanly County.
I trust that the Stanly County Board of Education will act appropriately in this matter and allow the students and the community to make their own decision, even if it means keeping the "Rebel" nickname.
Timothy Robert Wyatt, Ph.D.
NAME SHOULD BE UPHELD
The "Rebel" name should be retained. The term Rebel has honorable roots, for it was the Rebels who stood tall, against the English King George, and it was Rebels who fought for home and hearth when Lincoln decided to throw out the rule book and run the country in his manner, with no regards to the Constitution.
Let the Rebel mascot or nickname, whichever you prefer, stand tall and proud in remembrand of those who made the ultimate sacrifice.
MASCOT DOES NOT MAKE A GOOD ROLE MODEL
I attended the School Board meeting on Tuesday night because the issue of changing South Stanly’s mascot was on the agenda, and I wanted to hear the argument against the change. I have taught history in the county’s high schools for six years, and I have also been researching the desegregation of North Stanly for the past two years, so I have an interest in this area.
First, the man who addressed the Board of Education was surprised that some citizens would even suggest a change of a school mascot. His two biggest complaints were: 1) that the "real" history of what occurred during the Civil War (see also War Between the States or the War of Northern Aggression) is not being taught in the high schools; and 2) that no one can tell him why the Rebel mascot is seen in a racial context.
In essence, the poor white "dirt farmer" would have fought in keeping the institution of slavery intact. It is pretty simple to understand, then, why slavery is associated with the War Between the States — because it was an integral part of the Southern economy.
When the issue of states’ rights reared its ugly head, it was over the tariff issue of the 1820s and 1830s. The South had chosen to rely on agriculture, buttressed by slavery and did not want to pay high tariffs on foreign products, on which the South was dependent.
Let’s face it, slavery was quite lucrative and the South (with the North, another one of those dirty little "secrets") benefitted nicely from it.
So there it is. One can hardly not discuss the Civil War without mentioning slavery. That is why the "Rebel" mascot is contextually racial. Knowing this, the speaker who spoke on Tuesday night surely would not argue in favor of sustaining a 19th century ideology (states’ rights) in the 21st century that is associated with slavery. The United States is beyond condoning racism, isn’t it?
Here, then, are three reasons why the mascot ought to be changed. The first is because the figure of a "rebel’ is not the best role model with which a school can be identified. True, the American colonists were rebels, but they won their fight against tyranny. And then they went on to write that great document — The Constitution. The rebels of 1861 rebelled against the Constitution — and they lost. Do we want to be identified with a losing mascot and one that rebelled against the Constitution? Heaven forbid. The state of North Carolina is very clear in requiring that students be taught to respect the Constitution. They shouldn’t be taught to cling to a mascot who rebelled against it. It is near traitorous to take such a position.
My second reason for changing the mascot is very simple. Southern heritage (or history) will not be harmed with a new mascot. In spite of what the speaker believes, Southern history is being taught in high school — and in many of the ways he suggests.
Lastly, the "Rebel" mascot needs to go because it is a symbol of a white, segregationist history. South Stanly did not have a black student population when it was built in the early 1960s.
When the black students arrived from Kingville High School in southern Albemarle, they left behind their Panther mascot and had forced on them a symbol attached to antebellum slavery.
This, then, is their black heritage: white Southerners were fighting to preserve the Southern way of life, which included their perpetual enslavement. Surely, there must be a call for decency and sensitivity regarding their slave heritage.
This "Rebel" mascot does not represent all the students at South Stanly and for that reason it should be changed. And the truth is, we can do it by respecting the heritage of both sides.
— In NCSouth@yahoogroups.com, email@example.com wrote:
Just prior to tonight’s meeting of the Stanly County (NC) Board of Education, the Stanly News & Press reported that Steve Hagen, in his last official act as principal of South Stanly High School, changed the school’s nickname from "Rebels" to "Fire Ants." Hagen’s cowardly announcement is reproduced below, along with a news story from News 14 Charlotte.
At the board meeting, Paul Burr, Commander of the James-Younger Camp #2065, North Carolina Division, Sons of Confederate Veterans, made a forceful defense of the "Rebel" nickname in front of a large crowd of Southern heritage supporters. Upon questioning by Commander Burr, board chairman Mitchell Edwards stated that he does not intend to accept Principal Hagen’s unilateral decision. The board then convened to private session to discuss the matter further. It was announced that another public meeting will be held on Thursday, 22 July, at 7PM to solicit community input. Make plans now to attend.
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