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Students at the University of Mississippi have picked the Rebel Black Bear as their new mascot.

Ole Miss Mascot-thumb-400xauto-13497

The bear will replace Colonel Reb, the goateed Southern gentleman banished from the sidelines nearly seven years ago as part of the school’s effort to distance itself from symbols of the old South.

In 1997, Ole Miss ended the waving of Confederate flags at sporting events. Last year, the band stopped playing a fight song to discourage the fan chant, “The South will rise again.”

The announcement came Thursday after a campuswide vote in February and months of polling. The bear beat out two other finalists, the Rebel Land Shark and something called the “Hotty Toddy,” an attempt to personify the school cheer.

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