ATLANTA — The Atlanta Board of Education voted unanimously to rename Grady Stadium, nestled between Piedmont Park and the soon-to-be-renamed Grady High School, for former Atlanta educator Eddie S. Henderson.
The stadium's renaming will come with the beginning of next school year, along with the renaming of Grady High School to Midtown High School.
Both Grady High School and Grady Stadium were named after Henry W. Grady, who had campaigned against equality for freed slaves. The name has been at the center of a long-standing controversy.
In December, the board approved the renaming of the high school, leaving the name of the football field, located at the corner of 10th Street and Monroe Drive, as the only vestige of the Grady name held by the school system.
According to a biography provided by the board of education from the family, Eddie Henderson was a product of Atlanta, graduating from Archer High School before heading to Morris Brown College. In 1972, Henderson graduated from Morris Brown with a B.A. in Physical Education.
Continuing to strive forward with his own education, Henderson earned his Masters from Atlanta University in 1990, followed by his Specialist in Education from Clark Atlanta University in 1994.
Over the course of his 30-year tenure with the Atlanta Public Schools, according to the biographical sketch provided, Henderson worked as a physical education teacher, coach for multiple sports and athletic director at Grady High School, Assistant Principal at Carver High School, Principal at Archer High School, and Athletic Director for the Atlanta Public Schools.
Henderson's son, Eddie Henderson, Jr., described his father as a man who left an imprint in the hearts of many
"As the first African American Coach at Grady High School, he never let racial barriers impede him from meeting and in many cases exceeding the School Board and System goals," the younger Henderson said. "He never lost sight of his obligation to balance work and family. He was a great coach and a wonderful father."
A committee was appointed last year by Atlanta Board of Education chairman Jason Esteves to examine the name of the school, the stadium and others that have ties to racially offensive pasts.
In addition to the changes at Grady High School and Grady Stadium, the current Joseph E. Brown Middle School will be renamed Herman J. Russell West End Academy. Hank Aaron's name is among those being considered for the current Forrest Hill Academy in southwest Atlanta.