Nathan B. Forrest

Nathan B. Forrest High School’s physical transformation into Westside High School has begun.

Jacksonville School Replaces KKK-Affiliated Name

Jan 8, 2014
Sammy Mack

Nathan B. Forrest High — the Jacksonville school named for the Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader — has a new name.

The Duval County School Board voted to rename school #241 on Tuesday. Starting in the fall it will be Westside Senior High.

From the moment it was named in 1959, there’s been controversy over Forrest High, home of the Rebels.

In 2008 the school board elected not to rename the majority African-American school.  The votes fell along color lines.

Florida Department of Corrections/Doug Smith

On The Florida Roundup: The state Supreme Court approves a controversial new drug mix used in executions of Death Row inmates. Plus we look at the latest reports cards on South Florida public schools.

Join Tom Hudson as he speaks with Tia Mitchell of the Tampa Bay Times, Margie Menzel of the News Service of Florida, Brendan Farrington of the Associated Press, Sammy Mack of WLRN-Miami Herald News and Patricia Mazzei and Melissa Sanchez of the Miami Herald.

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In 1959, Forrest High was named for Nathan Bedford Forrest — the Civil War general and early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

After more than a half century of controversy, Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville is looking for a new name.

But Monday night, on the recommendation of Superintendent Nikolai Vitti, the Duval County School Board voted unanimously to rename the high school.

Sammy Mack / StateImpact Florida

When Rodney Jones and Tremain McCreary walked to school on Tuesday morning, the brothers were headed to the same classrooms, to sit next to the same students, in a building with the same façade it had on Monday.

But it was not the same school they had gone to the day before.

“It’s a relief to me to know the school name had changed. I was thinking about it: How do we have a KKK leader’s name for our school?” Jones says.

“Things are changing around this school,” says McCreary.