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Alumni object to logo of school named for black congressman

BEAUFORT, S.C. (AP) — Alumni of a school named for a slave who later became a South Carolina congressman say the school’s logo is offensive.

The school is named after Robert Smalls, a slave who escaped and later captured a Confederate ship during the Civil War. He went on to serve five terms in Congress.

The logo shows a man with a two-toned face, ponytail and colonial-era garb with the words “Robert Smalls Generals.”

“It is a slap in the face to anyone who has attended Robert Smalls, and it is an insult to all of us in the Beaufort community,” said Charlotte Brown, who attended Robert Smalls School from elementary school in 1955 until high school graduation in 1967. “He has earned respect, not just locally, but nationally.”

The logo is on the Robert Smalls International Academy’s website and on a mat inside the school entrance, The Beaufort Gazette reported (http://bit.ly/1L6Ne93).

Beaufort County schools superintendent Jeffrey Moss said the Academy doesn’t have an athletics mascot. He said several mascots have been suggested and district officials and the Robert Smalls Association will review the choices and present them to the school board for approval.

Moss said he thinks the picture was chosen by the middle school students at Robert Smalls and a bulldog was chosen by the elementary school-age students.

Robert Smalls Middle School was renamed the Robert Smalls International Academy last year as it became a school for from preschool to eighth-grade students.

The school was originally built 1925, serving only blacks until 1970.

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Information from: The Beaufort Gazette, http://www.beaufortgazette.com

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