Congressional Democrats introduced the Reconciliation in Place Names Act last Friday to address land areas with racist and bigoted names. More than 1,000 land units and geographic features with racist names, such as "Negro Mountain" along the Allegheny Mountains, stretching 30-mile from Deep Creek Lake, Maryland, to Casselman River in Pennsylvania, are still labeled on US maps.
Democratic Sens. Elizabeth Warren, Edward Markey, and Rep. Al Green, along with 25 cosponsors, all Democrats, introduced the bill.
"We need to immediately stop honoring the ugly legacy of racism and bigotry, and that's why I'm introducing the Reconciliation in Place Names Act with my colleagues," Warren said in a statement.
"This is about ending egregious expressions of systemic racism and bigotry, and taking a step toward dismantling white supremacy in our economy and society. It's about building an America that lives up to its highest ideals," she stated.
In 2015, 1,441 federally recognized places, such as mountains, forests, rivers, streams, and parks, had questionable names.
The Reconciliation in Place Names Act would specifically:
Create an advisory board composed of individuals with backgrounds in civil rights and race relations, tribal citizens, and organizations to bring a depth of knowledge and experience to the process.
Solicit proposals from tribal nations, state and local governments, and members of the public, and would provide an opportunity for the public to comment on name change proposals.
Require the advisory board to make recommendations to the Board on Geographic Names on geographic features to be renamed and to Congress on renaming Federal land units with offensive names.
More than 600 places are using "negro", including Negro Mountain, Big Negro Creek in Warren, Illinois; Negro Foot, Virginia, and Dead Negro Spring in Oklahoma.
There's also "Wetback Tank," a reservoir in Sierra County, New Mexico, which has been criticized for containing the ethnic slur used to describe Mexican Americans.
The bill would create an advisory board of civil rights experts with help from the public to rename the questionable land areas.
The name changes follow a couple of years of "racist" statues of and memorials to Confederate soldiers and generals were ripped down.
The history of yesterday is considered dishonorable today under the new era of "wokeness." Should these land areas be renamed and statues removed or preserved as mementos of history?
An Irish statesman by the name of Edmund Burke once said: "Those who don't know history are doomed to repeat it."