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High School Named After KKK Leader Gets New Name

3:44 PM, Dec 17, 2013   |    comments
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Forrest High School was named after Civil War general Nathan Bedford Forrest. (Photo: U.S. Military History Institute)

The identity of a Jacksonville, Fla., high school, named after an early Ku Klux Klan leader, is finally changing after the school board voted unanimously Monday to call it something else.

Duval Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti wants the students of the mostly black high school to decide on a new name to replace Nathan B. Forrest. The change will happen in July 2014, according to FirstCoastNews.com.

A previous attempt to change the school's name was struck down by the school board in 2007.

Following a federal order, Forrest High was integrated in 1971. Nathan Bedford Forrest was a confederate general in the Civil War. Forrest was also the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

Omotayo Richmond, a Jacksonville resident, started a petition on the website Change.org, where he collected more than 160,000 signatures from people wanting a new name.

He thinks the decision is an all-around win.

"I'm really glad that we had the opportunity to smash some old paradigm of hate and racism here," Richmond said. "This city is too beautiful for that blemish to be on it."

Vitti agreed.

"It is clear that the Nathan B. Forrest name represents disparate views that have led to a cloud of divisiveness that we have had an opportunity to address and remove," Vitti said.

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