Race & Racism at the University of Richmond

The Confederate Spider

Confederate Spider Origin

The first mention of changing Richmond’s mascot appeared in a 1934 Collegian article titled, “Rebels, Suggested as New Names for Teams.” This 1934 article discusses the potential for a team name change from 'Spiders' to 'Rebels.' The article attempts to persuade readers that a new name is needed due to the fact that the name is "insignificant" and does not "represent any particular strength, [or] physical power." A Richmond alumnus has suggested the name the Rebels, since it represents being the Capital of the Confederacy as the South rebelled against the North, and the fact that Richmond "possesses more monuments emblematic of the Civil War than any other state in the South."

Soon after in 1947 the Confederate Spider was created, as explained in the Collegian article, “UR Confederate Spider 3 Years Old.” Buddy Mayo, who was proprietor of the student shop met with Arthur Evans, a well-known caricature artist in order to create a new mascot. The result of this meeting was the already established mascot of the Spider, dressed in a confederate uniform, and thus dubbed Confederate Spidey.

Confederate Spider in the Present 

Although the Confederate Spider, or “General Spidey” as he was affectionately also named eventually disappeared from the spotlight, there was controversy stirred when the mascot was used by the Richmond Junior Class Cabinet for their yearly shirts. An article by the Collegian written in 2006 quotes President Max Sirkin as saying, “I’m really upset because as [the design] came under the slightest flak it was pulled.” The title of this article is also “Class cabinet forced to stop selling ‘offensive’ shirts,” which seems to question whether or not this symbol of a Confederate Soldier should even be deemed as offensive.

The Confederate Spider