School Named for KKK Grand Wizard Gets Much-Needed New Name

Forrest High SchoolNathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Florida will change its name after more than 160,000 people signed an online petition. The Duval County Public School Board has unanimously voted to strip the early Ku Klux Klan leader’s name from the Florida school.

It was a pretty intense debate and was initially rejected as a proposal by the school board. It was the petition that changed all that. It's unclear what the new name will be.

In many ways, this is really the way the Internet is awesome. Locally they would have kept it, but shifted that. We are a global community, which, in cases like this or in Steubenville, is a good thing. If the local community is myopic and small-minded, then things can still change.

On the other hand, how many school have questionable names?

This school is largely African American and Forrest's history is dubious, indeed. He was a slave trader, and historical reports and some say he gave the order to kill 300 captured black Union soldiers. He was also an honorary member of the KKK. None of these are good things, and honestly, I wouldn't want to go to a school bearing his name, either.

But let's also be honest. There are many, many people we revere in our historical textbooks and name schools and buildings and streets for who have questionable histories.

What about Christopher Columbus, who, by all accounts, was a greed-motivated, Native American killer who didn't respect anyone's beliefs but his own. He is the LAST person we should have an entire day named for. But we do. We also have streets and buildings and entire TOWNS named for him.

What about Thomas Jefferson? He is also very questionable and many reports say he was a horrible racist who owned slaves and wasn't nearly the hero we purport him to be.

In all fairness, I support the changing of this school's name. I would have signed the petition and think it was the right thing to do. But there is a lot of change that needs to happen if we are going to start down this path and a whole lot of names that have to be changed as well if we are going to erase hate from our past. 

Do you think the name should have been changed here?


Image via statelibrarync/Flickr



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nonmember avatar Annoyed

No the stupid petition should never have happened. Basically all thats been done is people who think they know better than others are forcing a community to change something that had historical significance to that community. That's so stupid.

nonmember avatar Huh

id rather be part of a so called "myopic and small-minded" community then part of a diverse-liberal-crime-ridden-trash-heap like NYC anyday of the week.Typical shameless,racebaiter blog.Nothing to see here.

EmilyH87 EmilyH87

I think the change was a good thing. Why would anyone want children going to a school named after someone associated with such hate and bigotry?

nonmember avatar anonymous

I live in Brentwood, Tennessee and there's a small patch of land next to the interstate that is privately owned and some idiot has had a statue made of Nathan Bedford Forrest and erected it there, so anyone driving on I-65 sees that. What an embarrassment. Of course they should change the name of the school. To "Annoyed" and "Huh," what the hell is wrong with you two?? Are you racist? Because Nathan Bedford Forrest certainly was, and if that's the kind of history you want to commemorate, I'm glad you're not my neighbor.

nonmember avatar alex

School should've stuck to their guns. It's not the business of anyone except the local community. is not on the side of the average history-loving american.

EmilyH87 EmilyH87

Alex, I love history as well, and if there is anything we should learn from history it's to not glorify bigots and racists.

manda... mandaschelle

I live down the street from this school. The majority of the community did want to change to name. My only objection is the projected cost involved $400,000.

Kattey Kattey

I'm just going to ditto Emily. This is positive progress.

Caitlin Byers

I agree with mandaschelle. I also live in Jacksonville and don't see it as a "small-minded, myopic" place to live. A majority of the people who voted against the name change, did so becase of the pricetag, not because they wanted to honor N.B.F's name.

Polis... PolishMamma2

Oh man, i live here in Jax. & let me tell you that changing the name of this school is not going to do much unless they decide to change the name of other school's & streets as well!"

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