SPARTANBURG, SC – More than a week after the Confederate flag outside the state house in Columbia furled, a group calling itself a chapter of the Spartanburg NAACP is now targeting Byrnes High School’s mascot name, calling it a symbol of “racial hatred,” and “pain.”
The group met Monday night at 6 PM at St. John Baptist Church in Wellford. A rally also started outside James F. Byrnes High School in Duncan at that time. Dozens of people showed up. Supporters at that rally said they wanted the mascot name to stay.
According to the Spartanburg NAACP main branch, the group is not chartered and not affiliated in any way with the Spartanburg NAACP.
They said it is not involved in the push to change the mascot’s name.
The social media campaign to get Byrnes High School to get rid of its “Rebels,” mascot name started with a Facebook post from a Spartanburg man on July 9, the same day Gov. Nikki Haley signed the bill to remove the Confederate flag outside the state house.
“It’s nothing racial. It’s nothing hate. It’s just a symbol,” said Doris Rogers of Duncan. “I have feelings for them because they have a right to feel the way they want to feel and I have the right to feel the way that I want to feel.”
This isn’t the first push to get the school to remove change its mascot name. In 1991, the NAACP led a campaign to get the school district to change its mascot, which, at the time, depicted a cartoon image of a Confederate soldier.
Spartanburg School District 5 spokeswoman Melissa Robinette said no person or group has approached the district or its trustees about the “Rebels,” mascot name.