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