In Jacksonville, Fla., a predominately Black high school bearing the name of an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan. Nathan B. Forrest High School will have its name changed in July 2014 after years of challenges from community leaders to get the KKK‘s leader’s name removed from the building.
As reported by First Coast News, the Jacksonville school board voted unanimously to change the name of the school after previous attempt were struck down. Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti will invite the students to create a new name for the school, and a vote could happen next month.
Forrest High was erected in 1959 and was formerly a segregated all-white school, and wasn’t fully integrated until 1971. The school district apparently has been battling this issue for decades, and the efforts of a community organizer caught the attention of the school board.
“I’m really glad that we had the opportunity to smash some old paradigm of hate and racism here in Jacksonville,” said Omotayo Richmond, who started a Change.org petition to get the name changed. “This city is too beautiful for that blemish to be on it.”
Students were also polled regarding the name change. Of the 1,035 at Forrest High, 64 percent were in favor of a change. Curiously, 93 community members responded regarding the change and 75 percent of them want the name to remain.
Forrest, a Confederate Army general, was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Photo: Duval County Public Schools