South Georgia school to change Rebels mascot

Turner County, whose sports teams have been down as the Rebels since the South Georgia school opened in 1957, will announce a new mascot in March, according to superintendent Craig Matthews. WALB-TV in Albany was the first to report the news.

“One of our teachers said it best: ‘It will increase student morale, and make students work harder.’ Therefore, it will increase teacher morale, and therefore, it will change the whole climate in the building, and just bring everybody together, and we want that to bleed over into the community,” Matthews said.

Turner County is the second Georgia high school to abandon a name tied to the Confederacy or racist ideology.

The name of Atlanta’s Grady High, opened in 1947, was changed to Midtown High in December. The school was named after Henry W. Grady, a 19th century journalist who supported white supremacy. Atlanta Public Schools announced last month that Grady Stadium would be renamed Eddie S. Henderson Stadium after a former Atlanta principal and athletic director.

The Rebels nickname is maintained by seven other schools in the Georgia High School Association. They are Atkinson County, Berrien, Effingham County, Fannin County, Groves, Haralson County and Hephzibah.