Hank Aaron's Name to Replace Confederate General's at Atlanta's Forrest Hill Academy

Tyler Conway@@jtylerconwayFeatured Columnist IVApril 14, 2021

ATLANTA, GA - APRIL 09: The Braves honor Hank Aaron and Phil Niekro by hanging their jerseys in the dugout  during the Atlanta Braves 2021 season home opener against the Philadelphia Phillies on April 09, 2021 at Truist Park in Atlanta, Georgia.  (Photo by David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)
David J. Griffin/Icon Sportswire via Getty Images

Atlanta's Forrest Hill Academy, which was named after former Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan grand wizard Nathan Bedford Forrest, will be renamed Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy.

The Atlanta school board unanimously voted to change the name Monday. As part of the vote, the city voted to waive the typical five-year waiting period before a school can be named after someone who died.

Aaron died in January at age 86.

The name change is the latest in a nationwide pushback against statues and other symbols of honor for the Confederacy or other historical symbols of racism. Naming a school after Forrest was among the most offensive, given his ties to a war that fought to enslave Black people and then his prominent status in a nationwide group of white supremacists after the Civil War.

“The South has a lot to offer with respect to historical teachings and oppression. It’s very important that we understand our history," school board member Michelle D. Olympiadis said. 

The board said continuing to honor Forrest would be at odds with the teachings of the school and its community. 

Aaron was a beloved figure in baseball and a longtime civil rights activist who used his platform to help break down racial barriers both within the sport and community.