Petition Challenges Nearly All-Black School Named After KKK Leader

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — A petition to change the name of a mostly black Jacksonville, Fla., high school named after an early Ku Klux Klan leader has gathered nearly 90,000 signatures.

Omotayo Richmond’s petition on Change.org asks Duval Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti to change the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School.

Richmond says it’s troubling that a school where more than half the students are black is named “for someone who would have kept their ancestors enslaved.”

Forrest was a plantation owner and slave trader. Some accounts accuse him of ordering black prisoners to be massacred after a Confederate army victory. The newly formed Klan elected Forrest as its honorary Grand Wizard in 1867, though he denied involvement.

A district spokeswoman says the policy for changing school names does not include online petitions.

(© Copyright 2013 The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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