JACKSONVILLE, FLORIDA – Officials have decided to rename a black-majority high school in Florida that was named for an honorary Ku Klux Klan leader who, some historical records, say ordered the execution of hundreds of black soldiers during the Civil War.
The board that oversees Nathan B. Forrest High in Jacksonville said it was following the will of its students when it voted unanimously to change the name. The switch will take place next year once a new name is chosen, said Nikolai Vitti, the superintendent of Duval County schools.
Vitti said a majority of students surveyed voiced support for dropping Forrest’s name, given his history as a slave trader and some accounts that blame him for issuing an order to execute captured black soldiers who fought for the Union side during the Civil War. Forrest was a general in the Confederate rebel army and was later named honorary Grand Wizard of the Klan.
The removal of the names of key Confederate figures, some of whom participated in the early days of the Ku Klux Klan, is trending through the South and other parts of the U.S.