An Atlanta public school named for notorious Ku Klux Klan grand wizard and Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest is getting a new name.
After a unanimous vote by the Atlanta Board of Education on Monday, Forrest Hills Academy will now be known as Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy. The change will take effect in time for students to return to school in the fall.
‘Names do matter’
“It is very important that we understand our history,” school board member Michelle Olympiadis said, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “It’s very important that we understand where we are coming from.”
“Names do matter,” board member Jason Esteves said.
Henry “Hank” Aaron is an Atlanta Braves icon who retired as MLB’s home run king in 1976. A civil rights stalwart, Aaron broke color barriers in baseball and used his platform to promote social justice causes. He died in January at 86 years old.
He also preferred to go by his given name Henry instead of Hank, something the school board may not have been aware of when deciding on the school’s name. According to the Washington Post, “Hank” was a moniker given to Aaron by a public relations staffer who thought the nickname was more palatable to white fans.
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