The Duval County (Jacksonville, Florida) School Board announced that the first step toward changing the name of a high school named for white supremacist Nathan B. Forrest will take place November 4. Duval County Superintendent Nikolai Vitti says the student advisory council’s (SAC) vote on the matter is the first step and their decision will decide if the school district will begin the process of considering new school names.
More than 159,000 people, including Port Of Harlem subscribers, signed a Change.org petition in support of the name change says petitioner Ty Richmond.
The school got its name in 1959, when White civic leaders wanted to protest a court decision that called for integrating public schools. The school was then nearly all White. Today, the school in half Black.
By Florida law, each school must have a SAC and be composed of the principal and an “appropriately balanced” number of “stakeholders.” These individuals must be representative of the ethnic, racial and economic makeup of the community served by the school. High schools and vocational technical centers must have students on the SACs.
Born poor, Forrest made a career of trading Africans, owned Africans, was a Confederate general, and a Grand Wizard of the infamous Ku Klux Klan. By the time the American Civil War started in 1861, he was a millionaire and one of the richest men in the South. A grandson, Nathan Bedford Forrest II (1872-1931), was president of the Sons of Confederate Veterans and a Grand Dragon of the unpatriotic, domestic terrorist group, the Ku Klux Klan.
The continued racial cases coming out of Florida seems to buttress Rev. Jesse Jackson’s claims that the state is “the Selma of our time.”