Friday, September 13, 2013

Changing the Name of "Grand Wizard High School"

The bad news: 

There is a public high school in Jacksonville, Florida named for Nathan Bedford Forrest, the Confederate general who was the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.  The then all-white school was given that name in 1959 as a protest against the federal requirement that public schools integrate.

The worse news:

When parents at the now-integrated (and half black) school asked the school board to change the school's name in 2007, the board voted 5-2 to keep the name.

The good news:

Parents are leading a new movement to change the school name.  75,000 have signed their petition.  And all five pro-Grand Wizard members of the school board have been replaced.

The movement to end anti-black racism in this country will be long and slow, and still has decades to go.  But we make progress by little steps, like changing a school name.


15 comments:

pharrel said...

Should schools named Malcolm X change their names too?

gruntled said...

No, I don't think the cases are quite parallel.

When Malcolm X was a separatist who talked about racial self-defense, he still did not advocate racial oppression and terrorism. And in the last phase of his life he repudiated the extreme line he had taken as a younger man.

Neither of these things is true of Forrest.

Prudence. said...

Anti white racism is real and politically incorrect to speak of.

gruntled said...

You can speak of it here. What it the relevance of anti-white racism to this discussion?

Prudence. said...

It balances the discussion and doesn't encourage either side to feel like a martyr with a chip on their shoulder.

gruntled said...

Is there some particular aspect of anti-white racism that is relevant to the discussion of Nathan Bedford Forrest High School?

Prudence. said...

Seems as though moderates would discuss more than one side of an issue.

gruntled said...

What is the other side of this issue?

Prudence. said...

The other side of the issue is that blacks and whites can be racist. Liberals and centrists don't often discuss that aspect of racism.That's all.Not trying to bait you.

gruntled said...

Sure. Got a specific case you want to talk about?

Prudence. said...

University of Texas admissions program that favors some African-American and Hispanic applicants.

Anonymous said...

Malcolm X schools symbolize the same thing that Forrest schools do. Both the Forrest and X names are not meant to reflect reality, but to evoke the symbol of a strong man capable and willing to use violence in defense of his race. The difference is that it strengthens one's PC credentials to support X and weakens them to support Forrest.

To be fair, Malcolm X is a piker when compared to Forrest in terms of actual violence. Whether this reflects a difference between the men or merely a difference between eras and opportunities is something that one can only make suppositions about. After all, one can portray Forrest's story as one of moral growth. An ignorant, unschooled slave trader becomes a brilliant, if ruthless, general who becomes the leader of a violent racial supremacy/anti-occupation group after the war is lost, but disbands the group within two years and in his last public speech - before an African-American group - proclaims "I came here with the jeers of some white people, who think that I am doing wrong. . . [I] shall do all in my power to elevate every man to depress none. I want to elevate you to take positions in law offices, in stores, on farms, and wherever you are capable of going. . . You have a right to elect whom you please; vote for the man you think best, and I think, when that is done, you and I are freemen. . . Go to work, be industrious, live honestly and act truly, and when you are oppressed I'll come to your relief."

And who wouldn't want their children taught that human beings are capable of such amazing growth? For, if we reject Forrest's speech as self-serving, then aren't we required to view Malik el-Shabazz's letter from Mecca with just as much suspicion?

gruntled said...

That is a good answer. The Jacksonville school board, though, made no such case.

Prudence said...

Guess they didn't want to be called racist.

Prudence said...

Nice passive-aggressive response to anonymous, gruntled...