Hank Aaron’s Name Will Replace a Confederate General’s on an Atlanta SchoolBreaking News
tags: baseball, Georgia, Confederacy, Nathan Bedford Forrest, public history, Hank Aaron
A public school in Atlanta carrying the name of a Confederate general who was an original grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan will be renamed for Hank Aaron, the baseball legend who broke racial barriers and the career home run record.
In an unanimous vote on Monday, the city’s school board approved removing the name of Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest from Forrest Hill Academy and calling the alternative school the Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy.
Aaron supplanted Babe Ruth as baseball’s home run king in 1974 — a record he held for more than three decades — but endured hate mail and death threats during his Hall of Fame career, one that began in the Negro leagues. Aaron, who played all but two of his 23 major league seasons for Braves, first in Milwaukee and then in Atlanta, died in January at age 86.
Under a school district policy in Atlanta, there is a five-year waiting period after a notable person dies until a school building can be named for that person. But the policy can be waived through a unanimous vote by the school board, which occurred in the case of Aaron. The renaming of the school, a public alternative school for middle and high school students, will take effect this year.
School board members said Forrest’s legacy was at odds with the community and its values.
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