Florida School Named After KKK Grand Wizard is Finally Changing Its Name

Categories: Broward News

Nathan Bedford Forrest was a lieutenant general in the Confederate army that people who still think this is 1861 will tell you was a pretty awesome dude. His nickname was the Wizard of the Saddle. He was also apparently more than a wizard of the saddle, however. He was a Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. In fact, he was their first ever Grand Wizard.

And a Jacksonville Highschool that was named after him is finally, after several tries via petition from people who think that a school named after a leader of the KKK is a bad thing, changing its name.

See also: Florida School Named After KKK Leader Is Challenged by Petition

The mostly black school had been named after Forrest since 1959. It was named after the Wizard of the Saddle by a group that called itself the Daughters of the Confederacy, lending credence to the fact that Florida has always been screwed up.

Forrest wasn't just a Grand Wizard, he also owned a plantation with slaves and reportedly ordered the execution of black soldiers after a Confederate battle victory in 1864.

Sounds like a delightful fella who deserves to be immortalized by having his name on a place of education.

But, on Monday night, the Duval County Public School Board voted to finally change the name to something less racist and horrible.

This after at least two attempts by the community to do so.

The first time a petition rolled around to change the name of the school was back in 2007. At the time, the motion was struck down by a school board 5-2 vote.

Then, in September, another petition hit the Internet and quickly received 90,000 signatures. It was put together by a Jacksonville man named Omotayo Richmond.

On the petition, he wrote:

I moved to Jacksonville from Long Island 12 years ago. Since then, I've put down roots here. I've helped raise a beautiful daughter here. This place is my home now, and the people who live here deserve better than a high school named for the first Grand Wizard of the KKK.

But the district again pushed back, saying that the policy for changing school names does not include online petitions.

However, it appears that the school district threw out that ridiculous notion and thought it should revisit the whole this school is actually named after a dude who owned human beings thing.

Needless to say, the vote was unanimous.

Now the school is free to come up with another name, and will no longer be named after one of America's pioneers in racism, and overall horribleness.

And it only took six years.

Better late than never, we guess.

via Wikipedia
Memphis City Directory entry for Nathan Bedford Forrest's slave-trading business, 1855-1856

Send your story tips to the author, Chris Joseph.

Follow Chris Joseph on Twitter

Sponsor Content

My Voice Nation Help

Of course Forrest owned slaves.  Quite a few people did back then.  Yes, he was a slave trader which was a profession not frowned on back then. It has never been proven the Forrest was grand wizard of the kkk. He did recruit 45 of his slaves to fight with him in the war in exchange for their freedom.  They stayed with him through the war and no one made them do it.  It was their choice.  Eight of those Black Men were part of Forrest's Personal Escort at his request.  After the war he said he had never fought alongside better men that those.  After the war most of his slaves stayed with him on his plantation and thought highly of him. BTW, he had a fair hearing concerning the so called "massacre" at Ft. Pillow and was found not guilty of any wrong doing by none other than Gen. W.T. Sherman.  Yep, Ole' Bedford sure must have been an extreme racist, not!  I also keep hearing that Forrest founded the kkk.  Not true.  The names of the men who did found it can be found on page 277 of the book, "Nathan Bedford Forrest, a biography" by Jack Hurst. I tell ya, who ever wrote this article is in need of some serious history lessons!   (George Washington and most of our founding fathers owned slaves so would you like to change the names of all schools and streets named after them as well?)  One more thing..... Forrest called for an end to the klan when it's actions became bloody and vicious.  That request was published in a TN. paper so don't take my word for it.  He made that request because he wanted peace in the South.


Huh.  Confederate  battle victory in 1867 eh?  2 years after the war ended?  He was persistent.

(or you need an editor, one of those)


I bet the new name ends up being "Hitler High School"

James Kendall
James Kendall

Breaking News: Jacksonville not so big on change. lol


You don't need to go to Jacksonville for Forrest conections.  Hollywood has a "Forrest Street" that runs from the beach to the far western reaches of the city -- it's part of their 'General's Names" series of streets.

I don't know if it's official policy, but I have noticed that when the street signs need to be changed -- due to an accident or construction -- the new signs read "Forest Street."  That's certainly an interesting revisionist thought process.


That last line should have read "He wanted peace in the South for all men, black and white alike."  It should also be noted that Forrest worked to bring about better conditions for black people in the south.  Much needed study of history before you write untruths about a man you know nothing of. This article is way out of hand!

Now Trending

Miami Concert Tickets

From the Vault