Hank Aaron Replaces Confederate General at Atlanta High School Renaming

Author:
Publish date:

Forrest Hill Academy in Atlanta will be renamed as the Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy following a vote from the Atlanta Board of Education, according to The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

The alternative high school in southwest Atlanta is currently named after Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan. The change to make Aaron the school's namesake will reportedly take effect this year.

“The South has a lot to offer with respect to historical teachings and oppression,” school board member Michelle D. Olympiadis said on Monday, per The New York Times. “It’s very important that we understand our history.”

Aaron played nine of his 23 MLB seasons in Atlanta after the Milwaukee Braves relocated in 1966. He was a 21-time All-Star and he broke Babe Ruth's home run record with his 715th career homer in 1974. Aaron faced significant racism throughout his chase for the all-time home run crown, enduring death threats and the attempted kidnapping of his daughter, Gaile. Upon breaking the home run record, Aaron told the crowd in Atlanta, "I just thank God it’s all over."

Aaron died at 86 on Jan. 22. Teams across MLB paid tribute to Aaron upon his death, and his funeral was attended by former MLB commissioner Bud Selig and President Bill Clinton, among others.

"Hank Aaron is near the top of everyone's list of all-time great players. His monumental achievements as a player were surpassed only by his dignity and integrity as a person," MLB commissioner Rob Manfred said following Aaron's passing. "Hank symbolized the very best of our game, and his all-around excellence provided Americans and fans across the world with an example to which to aspire.

"His career demonstrates that a person who goes to work with humility every day can hammer his way into history–and find a way to shine like no other."

More Hank Aaron Coverage: 

• Hank Aaron Transcended Baseball Like Few Ever Have—or Will

• Hank Aaron Never Forgot How America Treated Him. We Shouldn't, Either

• How Sports Illustrated Captured the Life and Legacy of Hank Aaron