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Education

Ku Klux Klan Urges Duval County School Board To Reject Forrest High Name Change

nathan_bedford_forrest.jpg

A Missouri-based chapter of the  Ku Klux Klan has written letters to members of the Duval County School Board asking them to take a "decisive stand" against renaming Jacksonville's Nathan B. Forrest High School.

The board is slated to take up debate on the issue at a town hall meeting scheduled for tomorrow evening.

The Westside school is named for Tennessee native Nathan Bedford Forrest, a  confederate soldier, slave trader, and among the first leaders of the Klan.

The letter, sent from the Park Hills, Mo.-based Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan, is signed by "K-Trio," an "Imperial Kaltrop" of the chapter.

Trio doesn't refute Forrest's high position within the Klan, instead claiming that the true reason for the organization's founding has been misrepresented.

"Many say it was to deny the newly emancipated blacks of their rights, and I am sure that there were some men who embraced that concept," he writes, "but the Klan was born primarily as a fraternity and quickly evolved into a group of vigilance to protect defenseless southerners from criminal activities perpetrated against them by Yankee carpet baggers, scalawags, and many bestial blacks and other criminal elements."

There have been failed efforts to rename the school, but interest in the issue was renewed earlier this year after Duval County Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti said he would support changing the name if approved by the board.

A petition written by city resident and parent Ty Richmond has received more than 116,000 signatures through online petition website Change.org. 

"It couldn’t be more clear: inaction from the board equates to siding with current members of the Ku Klux Klan,” Richmond said in a release from Change.org.

“This is a change Jacksonville wants to see and we’re getting close to making that happen.”

Read the letter from the Klan below, courtesy of Florida Times-Union reporter Topher Sanders:

You can follow Patrick on Twitter @patrickhdonges.