A federal board has voted to remove the word "negro" from the names of over a dozen Texas geographic locations. Per CNN, the US Board on Geographic Names approved the proposal Thursday to rename 16 geographical features in Texas that include the word. Per the Texas Tribune, the change to the names of features such as lakes and valleys comes 30 years after the state legislature last tried to remove the word from maps. In 1991,
current Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis sponsored a bill as a state lawmaker aimed at doing just that, and he was under the impression it had worked until he was contacted for a related NPR story last year.
Of the 19 place names Ellis sought to change, only three had actually been updated, per a statement from his office. "This day has been a long time coming, but I am proud to see this change finally happen. In this moment of racial reckoning, we must follow up our verbal commitments to racial justice with action," Ellis said. The word remains a part of some Texas locations, however. The statement notes, that 11 other sites in Texas containing the word have been identified on private land where the federal board has no jurisdiction. Ellis called for those names, and similar ones across the country, to be "erased from the public domain."
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