Hank Aaron on list to replace KKK leader’s name on Atlanta school

Four proposed names, including two that would pay tribute to Hank Aaron, are in the running to replace Forrest Hill Academy.

The name of the alternative school in southwest Atlanta currently references Nathan Bedford Forrest. Forrest was a Confederate general and active in the Ku Klux Klan.

On Wednesday, an Atlanta school board committee tasked with recommending a new name for the academy narrowed the list of contenders to four. They are: Hank Aaron Center of Learning and Growth, Hank Aaron New Beginnings Academy, Barbara Whitaker Center for Excellence and Hammond Park Academy.

Aaron, the Hall of Fame Atlanta Braves baseball player who broke Babe Ruth’s home run record, died last week at the age of 86.

Whitaker, a graduate of Spelman College, served as the district’s assistant superintendent. She died last year.

Hammond Park references the neighborhood where the school is located.

APS policy states that schools can only be named for individuals “after they have been deceased for five years.” That restriction can be waived with a unanimous vote of the school board.

The naming committee will meet at 5:30 p.m. Feb. 25 to choose its favorite of the four names. The full school board must sign off on the recommendation before the name is changed.

Forrest Hill is one of several Atlanta schools named after men who espoused racist views.

The school board recently agreed to change the name of Henry W. Grady High School to Midtown High School. Joseph E. Brown Middle School will be renamed Herman J. Russell West End Academy.