Associated Press
Thursday, January 28, 2021

ATLANTA (AP) - Late baseball Hall of Famer Hank Aaron is among several names being considered to replace a Ku Klux Klan leader’s name on an Atlanta high school.

An Atlanta school board committee narrowed a list of recommended name changes for Forrest Hill Academy on Wednesday and included two tributes to the Milwaukee and Atlanta Braves right fielder.

The names are: Hank Aaron Center of Learning and Growth, Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy, Barbara Whitaker Center for Excellence and Hammond Park Academy, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported.

Aaron died last week at the age of 86. “ Hammerin’ Hank ” set a wide array of career hitting records during his 23-year span, ultimately breaking Babe Ruth’s home run record while enduring racist threats.

“If I was white, all America would be proud of me,” Aaron said almost a year before he passed Ruth. “But I am Black.”

Barbara Whitaker died last year. She was a Spelman College graduate who served as the district’s assistant superintendent. Hammond Park is where the school is located.

Although Aaron and Whitaker’s names are in the running, Atlanta Public School policy states, schools can only be named after those who “have been deceased for five years.” The restriction can be waived with a unanimous school board vote.

The naming committee will meet Feb. 25 to choose a recommendation. The school board must sign off on the name before it is changed.

Forrest Hill Academy is named after Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

The school board recently agreed to change the name of Henry W. Grady High School to Midtown High School.

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