Feb 8, 2011

Maryland bill seeks to rename 'Negro Mountain'
 

 

Via NBC Washington:

Some state lawmakers are looking to rename Negro Mountain and Polish Mountain in western Maryland.

Nine senators, none from the western region, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 3 in the General Assembly on Thursday. It would create a commission to rename the peaks by the end of this year.

The bill says the names should be changed to more accurately reflect the region's history and culture.

Democrat Lisa Gladden said the name Negro Mountain has irked her since she first saw it in 1998.

She said the word "Negro" has often carried negative connotations about African-Americans.

Western Maryland historians say Negro Mountain honors a free black man who acted heroically during the French and Indian War. And they say Polish Mountain may have originally been called Polished Mountain, but that the name changed over time.

And some legislators aren't too fond of a name change.

"It's just asinine," Delegate Kevin Kelly told the Cumberland Times-News. "I'm of Irish descent. We'd love to have a mountain named after us. Let's rename it Irish Mountain."

Delegate Wendell Beitzel told the paper he grew up on Negro Mountain and has a farm there.

"I don't know why people in the Baltimore area are so worried about it," Beitzel told the paper, adding that it was actually named in the language of the time in tribute to a black man's heroism.

 
I will admit as someone who's traveled through 'Negro Mountain' on several occasions as I drove back and forth between Pittsburgh and D.C., that the first time I saw the sign saying 'Negro Mountain' it gave me pause.  I remember the first time one of my friends from college came to visit me and she told me about the mountain of course I didn't believe her (you would think being from the South that I would), but after seeing it for myself I was sort of speechless.  I don't know how to feel about this one. 

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