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Florida School Named After KKK Grand Master to Be Renamed in 2014

Image: Florida School Named After KKK Grand Master to Be Renamed in 2014

Tuesday, 17 Dec 2013 06:42 PM

By Morgan Chilson

A Florida high school is getting a new name because it was originally named after Confederate leader, slave owner, and Ku Klux Klan grand master Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The Duval County high school announced that it will seek input from the community, and then propose a new name in January, Reuters said.

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"We recognize that we cannot and are not seeking to erase history," Constance Hall, a school board member, told Reuters in a statement. “For too long and too many, this name has represented the opposite of unity, respect, and equality."

Reuters said the idea of naming public institutions after Confederate leaders and others in history has caused problems, with some believing it honors questionable people but others believing it’s a way of honoring regional history.

A Change.org petition to change the high school name gathered more than 162,000 signatures. The man who started the petition, Omotayo Richmond, said on the site, “The people who live here deserve better than a high school named for the first Grand Wizard of the KKK. I don't want my daughter, or any student, going to a school named under those circumstances. This is a bad look for Florida — with so much racial division in our state, renaming Forrest High would be a step toward healing.”

People on the website were sharp in their dislike of the school’s name. “I would move before I allowed a child to attend a school named for a hatemonger. I couldn't care less if it is ‘The South.’ Honoring evil is wrong no matter where it occurred. If one's history contains evil, repentance — as in turning totally away from that evil — is what is called for, not glorying in it,” wrote one woman from Virginia.

But those feelings weren’t universal, CNN said. More than half of the school’s teachers were against the name change and 36 percent of the students were as well.

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