The group plans to request that the county officials issue a statement repositioning themselves on the mascot, with a public commitment to initiate the examination and removal of all signs of confederacy immediately upon approval from the board.
Similar demonstrations have occurred in Franklin County schools over the decades, with the latest request for removal on record from the early 90s.
Shanae Williams, a native of Franklin County and organizer of a local petition to remove the Rebel mascot from Franklin County imagery, said the time has come to make real change.
As of July 8, the petition to remove the Rebel mascot has nearly 4,500 supporters. A counter petition organized by Natasha Statham has received just over 1,000 signatures.
“For generations, we have faced problems in this community with racism. The student body in Franklin County is diverse and a mascot should be representation of every student in the school system. The history of the mascot does not come from equal representation. The rebel man is pulled directly from Confederate history, and our school fight song comes from acts of black face,” Williams said. “My hope is that changing the mascot pushes us in the right direction and promotes the growth we’ve claimed to have seen over the years.”
Terrance Martin, who graduated from Franklin County High School in 2010, said symbols like the Rebel mascot and the Confederate flag are offensive and degrading to Black students and alumni.
“These symbols are found all throughout the schools, and as a student, when you’re in an environment that invalidates your identity through those symbols, there is a problem,” he said.
Williams and others will speak at the school board meeting on July 13 at 6 p.m.