Fewer than a hundred people turned out for last night’s final community forum on whether to re-name Nathan B. Forrest High School.
The school is named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate General, slave-holder and, most troublesome for some, a slave broker and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.
Florida State College at Jacksonville political science professor Marcella Washington is passionate about wanting the name changed.
“We cannot have Confederate sympathizers, traitors to our nation, a Klansman, a terrorist, a person who believed in lynching and killing black people and have a school named for that individual. It’s just unacceptable," she said.
NForrest’s past isn’t as important to Becky Dobson as is her own. As a 1972 graduate of the school, she says she’s partial to keeping the name.
"It just was the name of my high school and so it’s for sentimental reasons that I would like for it not to be changed,” she said.
What do current students think about the name?
Standing at the back of the auditorium, 16-year-old Kendaryl Galloway shrugged.
“I don’t really know much about the history of him," Galloway said. "I just want for this to be over with so things can be normal at the school.”
A special panel will be at Forrest today to explain the pros and cons of the name change to the students.
The Duval County School Board will hold a special meeting Dec. 16 to vote on the issue.
You can follow Cyd Hoskinson on Twitter @cydwjctnews.