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KKK Gets Involved in School Name Controversy

In Jacksonville, Florida there’s a school named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan and a general in the Confederate army. Some people think that’s a bad idea and they’re trying to change it. And the KKK is getting involved and asking the school board to keep the name.

Action News obtained a letter sent to all seven Duval County School Board members from the Traditionalist American Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

“When I found out it was an actual KKK organization I wanted to burn the letter and wash my hands immediately,” said school board member Jason Fischer.

Action News reporter Ryan Smith made some calls and tracked the letter back to the Missouri-based group. Smith spoke with the group’s leader, who said he stands by it.

The letter asks the school board to “take a decisive stand to protect the name of the school based on the true historical facts surrounding this valiant man of honor.”

The letter attempts to defend the KKK, stating the group was born to “protect defenseless southerners from criminal activities perpetrated against them by Yankee carpet baggers …”

The letter goes on to use a racial slur against African-Americans, which Action News chose not to repeat.

“At first I thought it might be some sort of a gag or political stunt and then as I looked into it, I found out that it was an actual organization … I was outraged by it,” said Fischer.

I’m sure the KKK will be taken as seriously as they deserve to be.

Comments

  1. criticaldragon1177 says

    Ed Brayton

    The one good thing that will come of this, is that the school is probably going to actually be more likely to change its name now.

  2. pianoman, Heathen & Torontophile says

    I have a $5 bill that says that letter they sent to the school board is littered with spelling and grammatical errors.

  3. John Pieret says

    I’m sure the KKK will be taken as seriously as they deserve to be.

    I think it is very likely that they will be taken seriously … just not in the way they intended.

  4. says

    “The letter goes on to use a racial slur against African-Americans, which Action News chose not to repeat.”
    Yes, most serious and convincing letters in support of (or opposed to) a cause contain racial slurs.

  5. Michael Heath says

    “When I found out it was an actual KKK organization I wanted to burn the letter and wash my hands immediately,” said school board member Jason Fischer.

    Since his level of disgust is so sensitive, I think there’s a good chance he’s an authoritarian who’ll be voting to keep Bedford’s name as part of the school.

  6. lldayo says

    I don’t see the problem here. Anybody that has had a hand in producing Tom Hanks should be honored.

  7. otrame says

    @5

    I would love to see a Harriet Tubman High School. Now, she was a hero. She escaped slavery, then went back to get her family. She kept going back and getting more people out. At one point there was a 10,000 reward offered for her, dead or alive. Once the war started she was a spy for the Union. And she did all of that even though she was subject to fairly frequent gran mal seizures, probably due to the brain damage she suffered when she was 15 and an overseer realized she was trying to help her boyfriend escape and hit her in the head with a scale weight, crushing her skull. She was in a coma for 5 months (and her family managed to keep her alive during that period) and she had a dent in her forehead the rest of her life.

    Harriet Tubman is someone worthy of deep respect.

    Forrest was a good general who had the advantage of NOT graduating from West Point, and may not have been as bad as his grand dragon episode suggests. We see the Klan after 150 years of their violence and terror. We should not necessarily blame him for what they became, especially since he seems to have become somewhat less of a racist late in his life.

    But we can’t get away from the fact that the reason he was an officer at all was the fortune he made as a plantation owner and slave trader, and while we can try to look at his accomplishments and downplay his roll in the KKK, the Klan stains everything it touches. Forrest should not have schools named after him in the 21st century.

  8. Pierce R. Butler says

    Jacksonville being Jacksonville, they’ll probably rename the school after Jeb! Bush or his dubious brother.

  9. jnorris says

    I would like to place in nomination for the replacement name for the high school the name of that most infamous and heroic Confederate general: Jubilation T. Cornpone.

  10. colnago80 says

    In Northern Virginia, we have schools named after the traitors Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, amongst others.

  11. Nathair says

    In Northern Virginia, we have schools named after the traitors Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson, amongst others.

    Does anyone know of any kind of Firefox addon or plugin or script or something that can be used to block/ignore specific commenters here?

  12. Dennis N says

    Does anyone know of any kind of Firefox addon or plugin or script or something that can be used to block/ignore specific commenters here?

    Why? SLC has his faults, but Robert E. Lee and Stonewall Jackson were, in fact, traitors.

  13. bobcarroll says

    Why not retain the name “Forrest” and name the school after Barbara Forrest? She is a real contemporary hero, a true Southern lady. Her testimony at the Dover, Pa trial conclusively demonstrated that ” Intelligent
    Design” was simply another ruse by the Discovery Institute to cover up their creationist intentions. And due to her pretrial disclosure testimony, she frightened off Dembski and other DI members from even showing up at the trial.

  14. exdrone says

    So the KKK are concerned that changing the name of the school will undermine their reputation?

  15. says

    “Does anyone know of any kind of Firefox addon or plugin or script or something that can be used to block/ignore specific commenters here?”

    Try the low tech fix. Don’t read the comment.

    Otrame:

    Forrest may have had a change of heart late in life. He was a brutal thug previous to that and appears to have skated on that thuggery. He doesn’t deserve anything being named after him, never mind a school.

  16. says

    felidae “Forrest also owned a slave trading company called “Negro Mart” before the war”
    I remember at the time that some people back then were all up in arms about Negro Mart (“You can beat our slaves, but you can’t beat our prices”) moving in to town and bankrupting all the mom ‘n’ pop slave and slave supply stores. [And, also, further jokes that get up to the line but hopefully don't cross it.]

  17. criticaldragon1177 says

    Bobcarroll,

    You wrote,
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————-
    Why not retain the name “Forrest” and name the school after Barbara Forrest? She is a real contemporary hero, a true Southern lady. Her testimony at the Dover, Pa trial conclusively demonstrated that ” Intelligent
    Design” was simply another ruse by the Discovery Institute to cover up their creationist intentions. And due to her pretrial disclosure testimony, she frightened off Dembski and other DI members from even showing up at the trial.
    —————————————————————————————————————————————————-

    Good, idea. The only problem with that is that wouldn’t be as likely to enrage the klan ( and other racists ) as much as renaming it after an abolitionists or civil rights icon.

  18. John Phillips, FCD says

    Oops, forgot about posts with links.

    Nathair, greasemonkey script manager for firefox and tampermonkey script manager for chrome and use the ftb killfile script available from the pharyngula wiki.

  19. left0ver1under says

    Speaking of unpleasant naming of areas with unpleasant people…

    In 1986, Seattle, Washington was located in King County, which was named after former US vice president William Rufus Devane King of Alabama, who was a slave owner.

    To dissociate the state from that unpleasant history, the county was renamed King county, after Martin Luther King Jr.

    http://www.komonews.com/news/archive/4150206.html

    While I doubt that school in Florida could find someone with the same name, I don’t see any justification in keeping it. By not changing the name, they’re saying they’re afraid of the Kook Klux Klowns and/or that they admire them.

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