A recent political movement over the Washington Redskin’s nickname and it’s mascot’s symbolism has taken roots in Houston. Houston Independent School District Superintendent Terry Grier has reached out to the school board for a change to a handful of local schools nicknames and mascots. On Thursday night, the board signals it’s ready to comply.
Houston’s Lamar High School, named after Mirabeau B. Lamar, the second president of Texas has a lot in common with the NFL’s Washington Redskins. Their mascot is also symbolism of a Redskin and while school board member, Anna Edwards, denounces Lamar’s character, an interesting note come to light.
Lamar High School gave birth to Robert E. Lee High School, name after Civil War General Robert E. Lee, which relieved some of the growth of Lamar. Lee’s mascot is a symbol of ‘Generals’ and is reflective of the Civil War.
Both Mirabeau B. Lamar and Robert E. Lee were symbols of slavery, but Lamar is associated with atrocities inflicted upon Native Americans in Texas. The nickname and mascot, Redskins, some 75 years later is now associated with those atrocities.
State Sen. Rodney Ellis requested the change within Houston’s Public School system, roughly about the same time the political movement asked the Washington Redskins to change their name and symbol. So far the team is unwilling to accommodate the movement’s request.
While the name ‘Redskins’ is considered to be ‘a relic of a shameful, discriminatory past,’ according to Ellis, it’s also creating backlash from those who oppose changing historical symbolism that’s not reflective of anything derogatory, but rather pride, dignity, achievements and accomplishments.
Lamar High School, created in 1937, is a symbol of excellence, regardless of it’s nickname and mascot. The school was recently recognized by the Texas Education Agency.
In the state of Texas there are approximately 181 sports teams using Native Americans nicknames and symbols. Houston has only a hand full and if the city is to become a test case for the rest of the state, the ground work has been paved.
Unanimously, the school board agreed to require sensitivity when it comes to nicknames and mascots. To the dislike of many around the city, history will be rewritten next year when the final vote on this matter comes in January.