Midland Lee Rebels Get Make-Over As School Prepares To Change Name

Students at Robert E. Lee High School chose from four designs to replace their current mascot, a Confederate soldier. The move is part of the ongoing process to change Robert E. Lee High School to Legacy High.

Sign in front of Robert E. Lee depicting a cartoon Confederate general. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

By Mitch Borden

For the last 60 years, Midland’s Robert E. Lee High School has been represented by a Confederate soldier. But last fall, district officials decided that needed to change after the school board voted to rename the campus to Legacy High, and end the school’s glorification of the Confederacy.

Now, as the district begins the process of rebranding the school, Lee students have decided exactly what their new mascot will look like.

After voting to change the campus’ name in October, Midland Independent School District’s school board decided Legacy High’s mascot would continue to be the rebels, but would now be depicted as an American Revolutionary War soldier. 

Students were presented with four logo designs, which were originally illustrated by their classmates. According to a district spokesperson, 641 Lee students cast their vote on the design and the winning logo won by 30% of the vote. Midland ISD decided Legacy would retain the campus’ original color scheme which is maroon and white. 

About 200 current Lee students voted to have this version of an American Revolutionary War soldier represent the school. (Screen capture from Midland ISD press release)

The Lee Rebels have a long history of excellence — especially on the football field. The school’s football team won three consecutive state championships in the late 1990s and early 2000s. In part, those who argued against the name change were worried these celebrated victories, and others, will fade as the school rebrands.

Other Midlanders said they didn’t see the problem with the school honoring a man who fought to protect the institution of slavery in the civil war. The thousands calling for the change, however, said it was time for the school to stop celebrating a racist legacy.  Last summer, thousands of Midlanders called for the district to remove the Confederate general’s name from the campus. 

Robert E. Lee High School will officially be renamed Legacy High School at the beginning of the fall semester on Aug. 2. Apart from the new mascot, the district is buying new sports uniforms and remodeling the decades-old campus along with other ongoing projects. 

As of Monday, the costs listed with the name change are currently about $887,000, but previous estimates show that amount could end up being over $1 million. 

About Mitch Borden

Mitch Borden is Marfa Public Radio's Permian Basin Reporter. If you have any questions about West Texas' energy industry or the Permian Basin email him at mitch@marfapublicradio.org.
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