New name chosen for Florida high school named after KKK leader

U.S. -

A Florida high school named after the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan will be renamed after a petition successfully pressured school administrators.

Circa News

Nathan B. Forrest High School in Jacksonville, Fla., will be renamed Westside High starting August 2014. The name was unanimously chosen by the Duval County School Board to reflect the location of the neighborhood.

"For too long and too many, this name has represented the opposite of unity, respect, and equality." Constance Hall, Duval County school board member

The board moved to change the name in December by a 5-2 vote.

Jacksonville resident Omotayo Richmond started the petition to change the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School because he wanted black students to be proud to graduate. It had reached over 160,000 signatures by early November.

The school currently has a population that's 62% black, 23% white and 9% Hispanic.

A move to change the name of the school failed in 2007 but the officials from that time that voted to keep it have been replaced. The school had an all-white student body until it was racially integrated in 1971.

Nathan Bedford Forrest (1821-1877) was a Confederate general believed to be the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. A park named after him in his hometown of Memphis, TN, had its name changed earlier this year.

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