CONTRIBUTOR | Devon POV Mason
An Atlanta public school is being renamed, taking on baseball legend Hank Aaron’s namesake over a Confederate general. A unanimous vote on Monday has decided the Forrest Hill Academy, named after Confederate general Nathan Bedford Forrest – is getting a name change for the better.
Forrest who was an original grand wizard of the Ku Klux Klan is being replaced by a legendary Black athlete with major ties to Atlanta Georgia. The new name will be the Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy.
Atlanta's school board has voted to replace the name of Forrest Hill Academy (KKK leader's name) with baseball legend Hank Aaron. pic.twitter.com/BKOIkZFhYc
— Everything Georgia (@GAFollowers) April 15, 2021
“The South has a lot to offer with respect to historical teachings and oppression, it’s very important that the history of the south is understood,” a school board member said
Aaron was born in 1934 in Mobile, Alabama, and began his professional career in the Negro Leagues in 1951. He debuted in MLB at age 23, with the Milwaukee Braves. The team moved to Atlanta in the 1960s. Aaron broke Babe Ruth’s home run record in 1974, and even through racial tension, he endured. While hunting down Ruth, Aaron received every death threat known to man, but he persevered and continued to be great.
Between 1954 and 1974, “Hammerin Hank” played 21 major league seasons as an Atlanta and Milwaukee Braves right fielder. He played his last two seasons as a Milwaukee Brewer in 1975-76. Aaron passed away in January 2021 at age 86tural causes.
This year’s MLB All-Star Game which was moved from the city of Atlanta following the new voter suppression laws was set to honor him in his city. The game has been moved to Denver and a celebration commemorating Aaron is still scheduled to take place.
Aaron is a Baseball Hall of Famer and World Series champion, but many know him because of his exploits and contributions to civil rights. The school district’s decision to change the school name from an association with bigotry and slavery to Aaron’s is common sense. Hank was the hope of a generation and transcended baseball. His bravery and talent had an effect on Black culture and American culture in every positive way imaginable and he continued to be a guiding light for baseball until his death.