The City Wire reports that Fort Smith lawyer Joey McCutcheon is stirring a community protest in advance of the Fort Smith School Board’s vote to change the Fort Smith Southside High School mascot from Rebel and to end playing “Dixie” as the fight song.
He’s planning a rally next Friday in advance of the School Board’s July 27 vote.
As others have written, the school’s trappings are rooted to resistance to desegregation in the South when the school opened in 1963. McCutcheon says it’s all about “tradition” and says there is no racial tension in Fort Smith. Really?
At least one African American leader in the city does not plan to attend. Fort Smith City Director André Good said he has already heard McCutchen’s “very inflammatory” remarks on southern “heritage” and other imagery that glorifies a time in history when blacks were property.
“I’m very familiar with Joey’s historical rhetoric. I don’t care to rehash that and rehear it,” Good told The City Wire.
Good said he respects the idea that people are able to gather and talk about their heritage, but doesn’t support retaining the Rebel mascot.