San Angelo NAACP to Whites: "Take Your Sheets Off!"


SAN ANGELO, TX — In a sometimes raucous open forum on the issue of renaming Robert E. Lee Middle School, a frustrated head of San Angelo’s local NAACP chapter, Shirley Spears, demanded those gathered in opposition to her position to deep-six the Confederate general’s name, to “take your sheets off.”

The San Angelo ISD is conducting a series of moderated forums on the possible renaming of Robert E. Lee Middle School. Spears said her demands have expanded to include renaming John H. Reagan Middle School as well.

The forum began innocuously where hired professional mediator, Dr. Dawson Orr, stepped through the Administration’s seven step questionnaire that many in the room felt was leading the Administration’s committee that will make its recommendation to the San Angelo ISD Board of Trustees to ax the Confederate general’s name on the middle school.

The questionnaire that anyone can take online, begins with two seemingly open questions about what kinds of outcomes do San Angelo ISD citizens desire for a Lee Middle School pupil? It isn’t until question 3 that the survey approaches the name of the school.

Question 3 is, “How does the name of the school impact the students?”

Orr noted in his opening remarks that over 54 percent of the students at Lee are economically disadvantaged, setting the stage.

In response to the first two questions, forum participants wondered aloud why the questions weren’t applicable to Robert E. Lee or the movement underway to rename the school? The head of the local NAACP, Spears, made her presence known during the discussion then, announcing that their aim was not just to remove Lee’s name from the middle school, but she and her group are also demanding the school district remove John H. Reagan’s name from one of the elementary schools.

Reagan was a Texas politician before and after the Civil War. But during the war, he was the Confederate States of America’s postmaster general. Imprisoned in solitary confinement after the war, Reagan wrote a passionate open letter to his fellow statesmen in Texas begging them to renounce succession and slavery once and for all, or face dire consequences. He was initially ostracized for his letter but as years of Reconstruction dragged on, he was proven to be correct in his predictions. The old prophet was nicknamed “Old Roman” by fellow statesmen and in the newspapers. For this, his political career was resurrected. He served Texas as a U.S. senator and later was named the first head commissioner of the newly formed Texas Railroad Commission. He was also a co-founder of the Texas State Historical Association.

A current Lee student rose at the forum and said that if the school has a “negative name” it is disrespectful.

The pro-Lee side was very vocal and thoughtful throughout. One Lee supporter asked why are we wanting to wipe away history? “No one was perfect except for Jesus,” she said.

Michael Brown, a white man who organized the early Black Lives Matter protests in San Angelo, retorted that no history was being erased because anyone can look up history on their smart phone. His ultimate suggestion was to name the school after “anyone who hasn’t done any harm against others to make their legacy.”

Lyleanne McClellan-Thee, a local conservative activist and Lee supporter, noted that the change of the school name impacts 70 years of Lee alumni, the trophies, and in-school accomplishments of those who attended Lee over the years. Her remarks were met with groans from the side opposing her and Lee’s name.

At this point, Orr the mediator admonished everyone that the forum was not intended to be a debate. “No debate is allowed,” he said. Standing at the rear of the room was a San Angelo police officer, hired to monitor the meeting should it get out of control.

As the topic of why Lee Middle School was named as such, Orr gained the mistrust of more than half the room when he made a point that seemingly presented the bias of the “Engaging Equity” process set forth by the Administration.

“We have to remember about who was on the school board in 1949 and we need to ask who did not have a voice in naming Lee Middle School,” he said. This led to an interesting discussion of who was actually on the school board in 1949 and what were their motivations in naming the school after Lee?

Hoots and calls came from the audience following Orr's declaration, most suggesting the process was rigged against Lee. Lee alumnus Nelda Nowlin recalled her experience during the desegregation of San Angelo’s schools in 1954. She sad the school board’s actions back then were historic and the board gave the community only one week to prepare for the drastic move. She said the timeline of the quick decision did not offer anyone a chance to debate, second-guess, or oppose the decision.

“It completely changed the makeup of the schools,” she said. “I started 4th grade with all new people I didn’t even know before.”

Nowlin said she didn’t know about the racial divide in America until she went away for college.

“Our school board was in the minority (of school boards across the South) because they decided to desegregate early,” she said.

Michael Brown uttered the only curse word during the forum. He said, “No one wants to live on Sh**head Street.” He was presuming all in the room felt Lee’s name to be worthy of the same epithet.

One senior citizen woman near the back opened her comments declaring sarcastically that Lee Middle School should be renamed “Mesquite” Middle School and the mascot be the “Beans.”

“Who would not cheer for the Beans?” she asked jokingly.

Then she turned serious. “If you do not honor history, you have nothing. If you don’t have any history, you have nothing to judge the actions of today,” she said.

This is when Spears stood up and declared that the desegregation of 1954 in San Angelo was not executed because everyone loved each other and wanted to attend school together as mixed communities. She claimed the board back then was chasing federal dollars and desegregation was one way to obtain federal funding. Then she suggested her opponents were engaged in something more nefarious than arguing over school names.

“Be honest. This is not just about Lee and Reagan. Take your sheets off,” she admonished the mostly white participants gathered there to support the name of Lee Middle School.

Superintendent Carl Dethloff said the school board will decide upon three outcomes in October. Either the board votes to remove the name, keep it the same, or study the issue further.

Another forum is scheduled for 6 p.m. Tuesday evening, Sept. 15, at the West Texas Rehabilitation meeting room at 3001 S. Jackson St.

Update: San Angelo NAACP chief Shirley Spears walked back her comments at the evening forum.

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So agree or you are a racist.... same old same old. Naming of things should be based upon an almost unanimous agreement that the name is worthy of remembrance. Times change, ideas change, but the real problem here is that those who are pushing these sorts of actions are sadly ignorant of history. They want to paint the past in stark terms without nuance or depth. Robert E. Lee was an admirable man who lived in difficult times. Whether a school is named after him is of small consequence. Dismissing any who disagree with her as racist suggests the NAACP no longer has the kind of leadership it needs.

allegedly there are white people being arrested and charged with hate crimes because they used the "n" word or called the police when they saw a black person in their neighborhood. I akin "take your sheets off" with using the "n" word or any other derogatory race term. Why is Ms. Spears allowed to use such divisive and racist words in a public government sponsored meeting and nothing is said or done about it? I don't agree with changing the schools names and it has nothing to do with the KKK or wanting to suppress minorities. If she told me to take my sheet off, I would be very offended and more offended by a ISD board just sitting there doing nothing about her language. If I were to respond in kind to her using the "n" word, would the same board members just sit there and do nothing? I bet I would be labeled as unruly and the police officer would arrest me for a hate crime. If you want schools without names that might offend, then follow in New York City's footsteps and just number them. Change Robert Lee to San Angelo Middle School Number 1 and then change all the school names to numbers. Cause you know, the next fight will be over who the name school after and there ain't no one that can be nominated that won't be offensive to someone. Hell, I might even be offended.

But what school would want the name number 2? To paraphrase BLM organizer Michael Brown...”no one wants to go to a shitty school“.

I used to live in Hood (no pun intended) county, named after Confederate lieutenant general John Hood. Tom Green county is named after Thomas Green, a Confederate brigadier general. So, where do you stop, Ms. Spears? Will you not be satisfied until all semblance of Caucasian history is erased?

Personally, I have found that those who are ignorant of history are condemned to repeat it. Ms. Spears, our country is on the precipice of another civil war because you are your ilk are bound and determined to erase history, rather than study it. I suggest you read a book, versus entertaining us with your baseless histrionics.

Let me preface this by saying I don't give a shit about Robert Lee or them wanting to change the name. Under normal circumstances, I would have no problem with the name of the school being changed. However, these are not normal circumstances. Since Trump has been in office there has been a growing problem of persons on the left to use race and now physical violence in the form of BLM riots to push political ends. It is creating a culture of fear and self censorship that is preventing actual open discussion about issues like renaming the school.
Mrs. (or Ms. idk) Spears is attempting to brand the people that oppose her push to rename the school as KKK members. She is effectively branding them fair game to de-platform, cancel, fire from their jobs, have protesters go after them, be called racist, etc. Regardless of what the private feelings of those opposing the school rename have, this is painting a target on people who are engaging in civil, albeit, heated debate. I have a hard time believing she can claim ignorance of what she is saying with incidents like this all over the national media. She should recant her statement.
This is no longer a civil debate or a legitimate democratic process when one side can paint a target on the opposition essentially condemning them to the mob.

T R, Tue, 09/15/2020 - 17:33

Jack, first this is false information about arrests. Second, REL fought promarily to defend slavery, and led troops against the US. History shouldnt say it was a difficult time, it wasn't. It was about greed, money, and power over an entire race if people. Why anyone would defend this, I have no clue. Would you object to Hitler High? Or Stalin Middle School? Hopefully you would. REL was American! No, he was Confederate. If you can understand why Hitler High is a bad idea, you can understand why Lee is a bad idea. It is Robert Lee Rebels. What does that tell you? The Rebels! That us nothing to be proud of. And for Joe to make it seem irrational in the way the article portrays everyone on each side should be beneath him. 'The pro Lee side was thoughtful throughout'. Gimme a break. A thoughtful person should understand why it is hurtful to celebrate a person who wanted to keep your race enslaved. And Knowlin not knowing about segregation is complete nonsense. I'm sure her parents were not fans of it.

j j, Tue, 09/15/2020 - 17:47

You are right, if Mr. Hyde and Mr. Betty will finally remove their sheets, San Angelo will be much better off.

I don't have much to say about this subject because I have felt from the beginning that changing the name of a school, building or Street that was named after individuals in past history is total nonsense. So, to finalize my comment ... Ms. Spears should should apologize for her remark.The remark was uncalled for and racist. Ms. Spears ... who is acting like a racist now with that remark, it sure looks like it's you Ms. Spears ... that is a racist and you are trying to further divide whites and non-whites in this community. It's clear to me you as a representative of the NAACP are trying to keep the pot boiling, and cause more trouble. It's disgusting, very much disgusting!

This is the standard ad hominem attack so prevalently used today...just yell “RACIST!!” She apparently can’t actually debate according to the merits of her claim, evidenced by spewing such toxic venom. This is not surprising though, as this feeds her apparent victim mentality. Our society rewards victim hood, and if you can’t latch on to a victim status you don’t get to have a voice in the conversation. It is clear that she prefers to wallow in her own emotional cesspool and delights in defining herself by what others supposedly do to her, or don’t do for her. Let her. It’s a sad existence. But know, being head of the local NAACP chapter isn’t the only position Mrs. Spears holds as a representative of our city and surrounding area - is this really who should be representing our community? Likely not

Mr. Hyde...your choice of a 1925 picture of klansmen marching is beneath contempt. I hereby cancel my subscription to your blog and will discontinue reading it daily. You had potential but that's done away with your choice of a single picture.

but I would be more inclined to approach and befriend someone who doesn't have his pants hanging down by his knees. Just be a grown-up..... pull em up.....

I'll never understand why minorities, who are largely pro-family and conservative, would ever support the anti-Christian, anti-religion, pro-abortion radical Left, dead set on killing minority children before they're born and destroying the traditional family.

Conservatives tend to discourage the termination of pregnancies, ANY pregnancies, with no consideration of who's churning out these children, and more poignantly, the poor quality of life which many unwanted children subsequently suffer through. Statistically, most unwanted pregnancies are among those of poor minorities, people who are demonstrably incapable of supporting themselves, let alone the litters many of them tend to produce. How many Planned Parenthood protesters tucked away their posters of fetal goo after screaming at traffic, went out and adopted a few kids?

Liberals/Progressives are all about ''pro-choice'', championing the extermination of fetuses in mass numbers, numbers which wipe out Black lives at a rate of 4 to 5 times more than those of Whites -- numbers which if curtailed, could literally produce hoards of posterchildren for big government programs and entire armies of expendable foot soldiers for radical Leftist agendas.

A contradiction of interests, imo.

"A contradiction of interests, imo."

Perhaps White progressives suspect that the products of such conditions would be difficult to organize and control effectively, as is demonstrated by the wanton violence in the riots throughout the country. In fact, that these riots have mostly taken place in the areas controlled by White progressives says a lot about the true relationship, and sentiments, between the aforementioned and their minority underclass.

As to "poignancy," I suppose some people are, for one reason or another, more stoic than others - but stoicism does seem to be a conservative trait. Without that trait, high levels of organization are almost impossible to maintain, as is wealth creation. "Waste not, want not," as the "Greatest Generation" used to say.

It seems to me that minority communities would be better off instilling better values into those who will listen, working to form better social cohesion, and bringing exemplary individuals to the forefront as guides to their respective communities than opting for a spot in the Leftist lemming run.

I would imagine that, out of a sense of both self and group preservation, Black Americans in particular would be opposed to the majority of the policies being forwarded by progressives which tend to damage their cohesion as a group, decrease their numbers, and leave them clinging to victimhood status as so many pawns of their doting overlords.

Jeff L, Tue, 09/15/2020 - 18:43

the closet racist is calling everyone else kkk members because they don't agree with her??? How ironic. Hypocrites are the worst type of people... well no pedophiles are but not to the judicial system in tom green county.......

The only enslavement of minorities taking place is by the democrats they’ve been enslaving them for decades. Changing the name of schools, taking down statues, even reparations won’t fix anything. The problems within the minority community are of their own making, and until they address them nothing is going to change.

I really love how all you need to do is to read the comments on this article and you will plainly see who is actually racist.

Plenty of black conservatives, like Tim Scott and Candace Owns, saying the same things are they racist as well?

Candice Owens was originally anti-trump and anti-conservative until they paid her to switch sides, she blamed it on being made fun of online, but the truth is conservatives paid her to be on their side with a bonus of a platform to gripe on.………

But, I am talking about the people on this website.
I don't know anything about Tim Scott though.

I like how your links presume that Owens must have been bought off because she came around to the conservative camp, claim she admires Hitler, and (probably true) inform us that a discussion was held, like some conference or great council being convened, to discuss the President's penis.

Just t3h faxs, MAM.

Michael Brown says, no need for books or schools, just look up everything on your smart phone ;)

… outlines the core skills needed for the successful comprehension, and subsequent application and analyzation of any educational material or skill set.

Take for instance an 8 year old who recites the ''Pledge" or "Lord's Prayer". Some may very well possess the ability to parrot the words, they may even understand a few of the terms, and soon after, hone the cognition necessary for the practical application of displays of patriotism or religiosity. These cognitive skills of memorization and rudimentary interpretation are the foundation of what must be built upon, to achieve and utilize "Higher-order thinking skills", in which one must not only know the words and attain a basic understanding of said material, but develop the abilities of critical analyzation, evaluation, comprehension and the acumen required to synthesize the structural make up and methodology in creating a "Pledge" or "Prayer".

Today, we live in a world where no one really has to KNOW much of anything, other than the name or address of a website. The data the average person obtains from these sources may very well offer some very valuable information, but more often than not, next to none of it is retained, much less thoroughly understood.

We see examples of this everywhere, whether they be from those pretentious types who would place more emphasis on the craftsmanship of the frame (of which they attribute their ''intelligence'' to), than the value of the picture within it, which they'd never be able to single-handedly begin to interpret, without the intellectual prosthesis of a search engine, to the apathetic men of a thousand chimerical hats, who draw absolute blanks in philosophical or political discussions, yet can provide 30 links to various sources where their intentions and thoughts may be vaguely peppered about.

Jeff L, Wed, 09/16/2020 - 05:17

also : Dindonuffin High, Lil gansta middle school, and the ever present and soon to be Locked up ISD. Because all tgc does is put criminals on probation.......This city is beyond reparation.

ironic, Wed, 09/16/2020 - 09:53

Its just as simple to see who the closet racists are as well. You are telling me that EVERYONE who does not agree with her, or with your version of what is and is not racist, automatically IS a racist and an immediate member of the KKK? because that is what she basically said.
“Be honest. This is not just about Lee and Reagan. Take your sheets off,” in this statement she at least told a partial truth, this is NOT just about Lee and Reagan, this is about controlling what people say and think, how they live their lives and who gets what from someone else's labor.

But like all good socialists you are working well as a group with Saul Alinsky's rules:
rule 5. "Ridicule is man's most potent weapon. There is no defense. It is almost impossible to counterattack ridicule. Also it infuriates the opposition, who then react to your advantage."
rule 8. ""keep the pressure on."
rule 9. "The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself."
"Rule 13." Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it. "

But be careful I think you are now getting very close to
Rule 2. "Never go outside the expertise of your people."
rule 7. "A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag."

I never said any of that, I said read the comments to find the racists. Interesting how you extrapolated all that other stuff you wrote from my little sentence. No wonder the right wing is always angry, they are always being told that certain people said things that they didn't, and you certainly aren't helping any.

My point is that black conservatism is on the rise. Yes, Candace Owens used to be a liberal but is now a conservative. Of course she, as well as Tim Scott (one of only 100 U. S. senators and a conservative so not surprised you don’t know anything about him), Clarence Thomas,Condoleeza Rice, Thomas Sowell vilified by the left since they don’t fit the narrative. Obviously no shortage of leftist drivel admonishing these brave Americans, who along with receiving death threats, are referred to in all manner of incendiary ways not unlike the remark made by Ms. Spears!

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