StateImpact Florida
6:28 pm
Fri October 4, 2013

Jacksonville Discusses Changing KKK-Affiliated Name Of School

Originally published on Fri October 4, 2013 1:11 pm

Nathan Bedford Forrest.

Wikimedia Commons

Nathan Bedford Forrest.

The movement to change the name of Jacksonville’s Nathan B. Forrest High School—a school named for a confederate general and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan—got another hearing last night.

On Thursday Jason Fischer, a Duval County School Board member, ended a town hall meeting about school board budgets by inviting comments on Forrest.

Cyd Hoskinson of WJCT reports people on both sides of the debate spoke:

[Joan Cooper] says she’d rather the district take the money that would be spent on new stationery, signage and the like and spend it on things students actually need.

Proponents of the name change included 67 year old Wells Todd who moved to Jacksonville from Missouri 10 years ago.  … “So you have people come here tonight who (say) you’ve got to keep the name, you’ve got to keep the name. It’s our tradition,” Todd said.  “Was lynching a tradition? Tar and feathering a tradition? Dragging people onto chain gangs a tradition? Economic exploitation a tradition?”

Duval County Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said in an interview with StateImpact Florida, that he’d support changing the name.

“I would support a name change recommendation if brought organically to the board by the community,” Vitti said.

Since then, an online petition to change the name of the predominantly African American school has gathered more than 100,000 signatures.

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