A Florida high school with a majority of black students was originally named for Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Founded 54 years ago, Nathan Bedford Forrest High School in Jacksonville will now be changing its name, school officials said Monday.
"We recognize that we cannot and are not seeking to erase history," Constance Hall, a board member for the Duval County school, said in a statement. "For too long and too many, this name has represented the opposite of unity, respect, and equality.”
The school board voted 7-0 Monday to change the school’s name.
Students surveyed about the change voted overwhelmingly to rename the school due to Forrest’s history as a slave trader. Historical records say Forrest was responsible for the killing of 300 black Union prisoners of war.
A petition to change the name on Change.org, written by Omotayo Richmond, who moved to Jacksonville from New York, garnered 160,000 signatures.
"African American Jacksonville students shouldn't have to attend a high school named for someone who slaughtered and terrorized their ancestors one more school year," Richmond wrote.
Just five year ago, the school board voted down the same measure. Since then, board members have change.
The school, which serves about 1,300 students, was racially integrated in 1971.