Petition challenges Jacksonville school named for KKK leader

Nathan B. Forrest High School faces scrutiny from Change.org

Published On: Sep 26 2013 11:33:03 AM EDT   Updated On: Sep 26 2013 12:03:12 PM EDT
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -

A petition to change the name of a mostly black Jacksonville, Fla., high school named after an early Ku Klux Klan leader has gathered nearly 90,000 signatures.

Omotayo Richmond's petition on Change.org asks Duval Public Schools Superintendent Nikolai Vitti to change the name of Nathan B. Forrest High School.

Richmond says it's troubling that a school where more than half the students are black is named "for someone who would have kept their ancestors enslaved."

Forrest was a plantation owner and slave trader. Some accounts accuse him of ordering black prisoners to be massacred after a Confederate army victory. The newly formed Klan elected Forrest as its honorary Grand Wizard in 1867, though he denied involvement.

A district spokeswoman says the policy for changing school names does not include online petitions.