Forrest Becomes Westside High

Jan 8, 2014

Nathan Bedford Forrest

Nathan Bedford Forrest High school is no more. The Jacksonville high school that had been named for a pioneering leader of the Ku Klux Klan got a new name on Tuesday.

From the moment it was named in 1959, there’s been controversy over Nathan B. Forrest High, home of the Rebels. Forrest was a Confederate general, slave trader, and the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.

In 2008 the school board elected not to rename the majority African American school. The votes fell along along color lines. But it’s a different school board now. And last month, the board members and superintendent voted unanimously to change the name.

Current and former students were given a chance to weigh in and on Tuesday the board renamed it Westside High School. Naming the school for a person wasn’t an option; there’s a prohibition now against naming schools for people—alive or dead.

Westside is the school’s neighborhood.