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Hank Aaron Replaces Confederate Name at Atlanta School

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On Monday (April 12), the Atlanta Board of Education unanimously voted to rename an Atlanta alternative school from a Confederate General’s name to Hank Aaron; instead, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.

The high school was named Forrest Hill Academy, honoring Confederate Army Lieutenant General Nathan Bedford Forrest. PEOPLE reports he was a founding member of the Ku Klux Klan.

The school will be renamed the Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy starting next school year. According to WKRG, there are calls to rename Forrest Hills Drive, the street where the school is located.

“Names do matter,” board chairman Jason Esteves said during the vote.

“It is very important that we understand our history,” agreed board member Michelle Olympiadis during the meeting. “It’s very important that we understand where we are coming from.”

In an unprecedented move, the school district waived its policy of waiting five years after an individual has died to name a school after them, according to The Hill.

The baseball trailblazer famously broke Babe Ruth’s most home run career record in 1974, setting a new record at 755. Barry Bonds bested Aaron’s record in 2007, which stood for 33 years. Aaron, one of baseball’s most preeminent sluggers, was also an influential figure during the civil rights movement. 

The former Atlanta Braves player died in January at the age of 86 of natural causes. His body is laid to rest in Atlanta.

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