LOUISVILLE, Ky. (WAVE) - Dwight D. Eisenhower was still the president when Lonesome Polecat, a character from the Little Abner comic strip, became the mascot of the Seneca High School Redskins. The school changed to the more culturally appropriate Redhawks in the 1990s, but a few images of Lonesome were still displayed on the front of the school and inside.
Those images were suddenly removed this week, catching some alumni by surprise.
“I was blindsided by the removal,” Frank Binford, president of the alumni group Seneca Past and Present said. “I thought we would have an opportunity to discuss it in some logical manner rather than through the press. No one ever contacted us about the removal.”
Images removed at Seneca include a large painted figure of Lonesome in the school gym and on a tiled lobby floor honoring championship sports teams.
The mascot was removed through a Jefferson County Public Schools process called a “racial equity analysis protocol.” The decision was made by school administrators, teachers, and parents.
“In the district, we’ve really had a renewed effort to take a look at mascots and images that are in our schools,” JCPS spokeswoman Rene Murphy said, “making sure that they are culturally appropriate images that reflect our district. And we have encouraged schools to take a look at the images, look at mascots.”
Some alumni believed the decision was inevitable.
“The Seneca folks had been Redhawks for actually 25 years now,” Seneca Hall of Fame Committee Chairman Sam Denny said. “I thought it should be whatever is up there needs to be consistent with who they are now.”
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