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Midland School Named For Confederate General Will Now Be Called Legacy High School

In a 5 to 2 vote, Midland Independent School District's board voted to renamed Robert E. Lee High School to Legacy High School. (Mitch Borden / Marfa Public Radio)

By Mitch Borden

After a three-hour meeting Wednesday night, Midland Independent School District’s board of trustees voted to rename Robert E. Lee High School—which residents commonly refer to as Midland Lee—and now call it Legacy High School. 

The seven-person school board listened to nearly two dozen residents who signed up to speak during public comment before deliberating over a new name for the high school and its freshman campus.

Up for consideration were three choices: Tall City High School, Carver Lee Highs School and Midland Legacy of Equality and Excellence, or L.E.E.—the top choice from a district-appointed renaming committee.

But school board president Rick Davis rejected that proposal outright. 

“L.E.E. High School does not go far enough in disassociating ourselves from having a public school named to honor a Confederate general who fought for the Southern state’s ability to continue the abominable institution of slavery," Davis said.

Instead, Davis proposed Legacy High School, along with keeping the school’s colors maroon and white.

The school board approved the change in a 5 to 2 vote. 

"Compromise really happened tonight and we all need to be happy with that," said Courtney Ratliff, the Midlander whose led the fight to change his alma mater’s name.

Earlier this summer, Ratliff started an online petition to rename the school. It quickly garnered over 10,000 signatures in support.

"Now we can truly start to move forward and we can truly start to heal this city," Ratliff said following the vote.

Shannon Low, who co-chaired the renaming committee, said there are those in Midland who are angry with the Decision. “There’s just a lot of turmoil and unrest and hurt on both sides," said Shaw.

Low said she’s relieved the process is now over. And even though she was a proponent for the "L.E.E." acronym, she’s ready to move forward. 

“At the end of the day, this is a school for kids and how can we come together to do better and move forward," said Low.

Midland ISD has yet to outline its transitioning plan for the school.

The process could span months and cost the district over a million dollars. 

Mitch Borden is Permian Basin Reporter & Producer at Marfa Public Radio.