Atlanta school board committee favors name change for Grady High School

A signed outside of Grady High School in Atlanta as seen in June. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.
A signed outside of Grady High School in Atlanta as seen in June. CHRISTINA MATACOTTA FOR THE ATLANTA JOURNAL-CONSTITUTION.

An Atlanta Public Schools committee plans to recommend a new name for Henry W. Grady High School.

The group will allow another two months for public input on what the school should be called. Then it will provide a recommendation to the Atlanta Board of Education, which must approve any name changes.

The committee met Tuesday to discuss next steps in the decision-making process after agreeing last week that APS should drop “Henry W. Grady” name.

The committee will next meet Oct. 13 and 20 to deliberate potential names. The group is expected to present a recommendation at the school board’s Nov. 2 meeting.

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Earlier this year, Grady students petitioned the district asking for a name change. They contend that Grady, the managing editor of The Atlanta Constitution who died in 1889, held “staunchly racist ideology” that “helped cement white supremacy” in the south.

A group of alumni want to keep the Grady name, citing the school’s long legacy and academic reputation.

Between now and October, the committee will collect feedback about what the new name should be. The group plans to reach out to students, alumni, residents and others to find out what the most popular suggestions are.

APS also is reviewing the names of two other schools for related reasons.

Joseph Emerson Brown Middle School is named after the name of the secessionist Georgia governor who opposed slavery’s abolition. Forrest Hill Academy, an alternative school in southwest Atlanta, bears the name of Nathan Bedford Forrest, a Confederate general and Ku Klux Klan leader.