A high school in Atlanta is renaming itself after late Braves great Hank Aaron starting in the next school year. In doing so, the school will be moving away from its previous namesake, the first grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan.
Forrest Hill Academy, named after ex-Confederate leader Nathan Bedford Forrest, will now be named Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy. On the topic of the name change, Atlanta Public Schools board chairman Jason Esteves said, "Names do matter."
The commitment to the name change was strong enough that the district even agreed to waive a policy that requires a five-year grace period after the death of a person before they get their name on a building. Aaron, one of the greatest Major League Baseball players of all time, died in January at age 86. The vote on the name change was unanimous, and has even led to a conversation on changing the name of the nearby neighborhood, also named after Forrest, per the Atlanta Journal-Constitution.
This is the fourth name change Atlanta Public Schools has made in the last few months they say removes the names of white supremacists from a school.
On the field, Aaron is best known for being the man who broke Babe Ruth's long-standing home run record, eventually finishing his career with 755 homers. Off of it, he was regularly subjected to racist abuse during his time as a player, and was a notable figure in the civil rights movement.