Change racist school name and rebel mascot - Rebels, Johnny Reb


Status: Resolved
Established: 1959
Resolved: 2020

Hollins High School, formerly known as Dixie M. Hollins High School, is a public secondary school located in St. Petersburg, Florida. The school was opened in 1959 as a vocational school for grades 10–12, but it has since expanded to include 9th grade education. The school has just under 1,800 students.

When Pinellas County separated from Hillsborough County and became its own entity in 1912, Dixie Martin Hollins was appointed as Superintendent of Pinellas County Schools; he was about twenty-five years old. When Hollins High School opened its doors for the first time in the fall of 1959, it was named Northwest High School. Almost immediately the School Board decided to name the new high school after Dixie Hollins.

"Like Charleston in 2015, the problems of Dixie Hollins in 1971 were much larger than a misappropriated flag. They had to do with parents angry about enforced busing. They had to do with attitudes, prejudices, slights, traditions, economics and rumors.

A group known as Parents Against Forced Busing had called for a boycott at Pinellas schools on the first day of classes in '71. The boycott was a dud, and the group seemed in danger of losing momentum when opportunity arrived disguised as a flag.

Back then, Dixie was a school of more than 2,500 students, many of whom had never sat next to a black classmate. The culture shock had to be even worse for the 170 or so kids who were pulled out of the previously all-black Gibbs High district to attend a school where the fight song longed for "the days of cotton.'' Where the symbols of the Confederacy were all around, and where the school mascot looked like a plantation owner from the Deep South.

One week into the new school year, after hearing the concerns of black students, principal Kenneth Watson announced over the school's intercom that the Confederate battle flag would no longer be allowed on campus.

The next morning, dozens of parents were already protesting across the street with flags in hand. By the following week, fights were breaking out as soon as buses arrived in the predawn light. Every day there was a new tally of suspensions and arrests. A sheriff's deputy was stabbed, and several students were taken to hospitals after fights.

School days were shortened so there would be no lunch period, and classroom doors were locked, with the county superintendent imposing what he described as "martial law.'' - Tampa Bay Times - Dec. 15, 2015 - Romano: In 1971, Confederate flag was at heart of St. Petersburg school's painful conflict.. see link in RELATED LINKS below

In 2020, a student group created a petition on Change.org that called for the school's name and mascot to be changed, citing the relationship between the term "Dixie" and the Confederate States, as well as the mascot's resemblance to a Confederate soldier. Following the petition, the school's name was changed from Dixie Hollins High School to Hollins High School, and the "Rebels" moniker used for the school's athletic teams was changed to "Royals".

Campaigns & Petitions (1)

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