Nathan Bedford Forrest High School (Jacksonville)
|Nathan Bedford Forrest High School|
|Principal||Dr. Gregory Bostic|
|Location||Jacksonville, Florida, USA|
|Colors||Gray Black and Red|
Nathan Bedford Forrest High School is a public high school in the Duval County School District located on the Westside of Jacksonville, Florida. Forrest opened in 1959 in Jacksonville's Wesconnett neighborhood, at the site of present-day J. E. B. Stuart Middle School. Forrest moved to its current location on Firestone Road in 1966. The facility on Firestone Road was a duplicate of the design used for Samuel W. Wolfson High School, the work of Jacksonville architect Taylor Hardwick. The school is named for Confederate General and first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan Nathan Bedford Forrest.
Nathan Bedford Forrest was a Confederate general during the American Civil War, and later became the first Grand Wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. As of 2011, it is one of only two high schools named after Forrest; the other is located in his hometown of Chapel Hill, Tennessee. Prior to the school's opening in 1959, many Jacksonville organizations suggested names for the new school, to be voted on at a school board meeting. After many ballots, "Nathan Bedford Forrest High School," suggested by the Daughters of the Confederacy, won.
From its opening in 1959 Forrest High School remained an all-white school until the fall of 1966, when a small and carefully selected number of African-American students were allowed to enroll. Beginning in 1971, mandatory integration of Duval County Schools by federal district court order introduced a more diverse population, based on geographic attendance districts. Currently, over 1800 students attend Forrest, 54% of whom are African-American.
In November 2006, the latest in a long line of petitions to change the name of the high school was submitted to the Duval County School Board. Some students from the Florida Community College at Jacksonville wanted to have the school renamed in honor of Eartha M. M. White, a Jacksonville native and philanthropist, due to Forrest's connection with the Klan. In November 2008, the Duval County School Board voted 5-2 to keep the name the same.
In July of 2013, a local resident named Omotayo Richmond started another petition to have the name of the school changed. As of October 17, 2013, the petition has over 157,000 signatures and counting. In November 2013, the Duval County School Board voted unanimously to change the name of the school.
- J.E.B. Stuart Middle School
- Cedar Hills
- Sadie Tillis
- Stonewall Jackson
- Jefferson Davis Middle School
- Cedar Hills
- Chimney Lakes
- Gregory Drive
- Hyde Grove
- Jacksonville Heights
- Normandy Village
- Sadie Tillis
- Oak Hill
In 2009 the school earned a "D" grade. The school earned an "F" the two years before. But as of 2010 the school was thought to be "exceeding expectations" as their motto states.
Like typical American high schools, Forrest fields sports teams in football, baseball, swimming, basketball, volleyball, soccer and wrestling, among others. The wrestling program is almost certainly the most successful sports program at the school, having won the Gateway Conference championship in 2008 for the 20th time over all. The school mascot is the Confederate Rebel, modeled in appearance after Colonel Reb, the former mascot of the University of Mississippi.
Their most famous athletic alumni is basketball guard/forward Otis Smith, who played at Jacksonville University after graduating from Forrest in 1982, then went on to play for the NBA Denver Nuggets for two seasons, Golden State Warriors for the 1987-88 season, then three seasons with the Orlando Magic. He retired as a player in 1992 and is now the current general manager of the Orlando Magic.
The school also has a large AFJROTC program, including three unarmed drill teams, a sabre guard, an armed drill team, and a color guard.
The school has an outdoor pool which is used by the athletic teams and physical education classes during the academic year; then it becomes a free public pool operated by the City of Jacksonville Parks & Recreation Department during the summer months.
- Allen Collins - Founding member and guitarist of the Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd.
- Gene Deckerhoff - Radio play-by-play announcer of the NFL's Tampa Bay Buccaneers, and broadcaster of Florida State Seminoles athletics.
- Michael Jennings - Track and field standout at Florida State University and American football wide receiver.
- Otis Smith - Former Jacksonville University standout, retired American professional basketball player and former general manager of the NBA's Orlando Magic.
- Scott Speicher - United States Navy pilot who was killed when his F/A-18 Hornet fighter was shot down over Iraq on January 17, 1991, the first night of Operation Desert Storm.
- Shawn Watchorn - Guitarist for the rock band American Attitude on EMI/GI Jams Records.
- The Rise and Fall of Jim Crow. Jim Crow Stories . Ku Klux Klan | PBS
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- Students Propose Renaming Westside H.S. - Print This Story News Story - WJXT Jacksonville
- Florida board keeps Klan leader's name at high school
- Gettys, Travis (October 17, 2013). "KKK group begs Florida officials to keep school named for Nathan Bedford Forrest". The Raw Story.
- "Florida school board votes to remove name of Confederate general". Reuters. November 9, 2013. Retrieved November 9, 2013.
- "School Demographic, Assessment, and Accountability Data". Duval County Public Schools. Retrieved 2008-02-16.