Hank Aaron’s name will replace a Confederate general’s on an Atlanta school

The Washington Post

By Cindy Boren

April 15, 2021

An Atlanta high school that bears the name of a Confederate Army general who was a leader of the Ku Klux Klan will be renamed for Hank Aaron, the Hall of Famer who broke baseball’s career home record and challenged racial barriers.

The Atlanta Board of Education voted unanimously Monday to change the name of Forrest Hill Academy, named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, to Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy. School district policy requires a five-year waiting period after the death of a notable person unless the vote to change the name of a school building is unanimous. Aaron died in January at age 86, and the name of the public alternative school for middle and high school students will occur sometime this year.

“It is very important that we understand our history,” board member Michelle Olympiadis said during the Monday meeting (via the Atlanta Journal-Constitution). “It’s very important that we understand where we are coming from.”

Aaron, the legendary No. 44 of the Atlanta Braves, was one of the greatest players in baseball history, and never forgot the taunts he received while playing in the South during segregation. He smashed Babe Ruth’s career home run record while enduring racism and threats to his life and went on to use his career as a platform to champion civil rights. Aaron spent most of his 23-year career with the Braves in Milwaukee and then Atlanta beginning in 1966.