A Georgia creek with a racially offensive name has been renamed by the federal government.
Runaway Negro Creek is now Freedom Creek, reports the Savannah Morning News. The name change was proposed by Georgia Archives on January 5, and the U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted in favor of the new name on Thursday. The creek runs along Skidway Island near Savannah, Georgia.
GA plantation style house on Isle of Hope, near Runaway Negro Creek. Lol pic.twitter.com/HlMBf4DFPo
— Pedro Filipowsky (@PnVonFiveOclock) March 28, 2013
According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, the creek was named for the enslaved people who escaped from Modena Plantation and crossed it to enter Union-occupied islands during the Civil War.
State Senator Lester Jackson turned his attention to renaming the 1.5-mile creek after a public interest meeting in the summer of 2017. Residents argued the original name was insensitive and did not reflect the history of the area. The Georgia General Assembly passed a measure to petition for the name change in 2018. The Georgia Archives made the official appeal in December.
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“We need to replace this antiquated symbol with one that is more representative of the events of the 1800s,” Jackson said at the time. “We will be redefining history by shining a light on the events that transpired at Freedom Creek and honor the movement of freedom.”
Rep. Buddy Carter celebrated the name change as a sign of progress.
“This name change is certainly welcome news,” Carter said in a statement. "The previous name has no place in our society. I am very glad our community came together at the local, state and federal levels to make this happen.”
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