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Texas lawmakers urge federal board to remove ‘Negro’ from geographic sites

Texas (305405)

Texas lawmakers are once again urging a federal board to change the racially offensive names of geographic locations across the state, reports the Huffington Post.

The Texas House and Senate signed a resolution last month that urges the U.S. Board on Geographic Names to approve name change requests for 16 locations that include the term “negro.”

“The perpetuation of racially offensive language is a stain on the Lone Star State, and it is vital that the names of these geographic features be changed in order to reflect and honor the diversity of the population,” state Sen. Borris Miles wrote in the resolution.

The USBGN, which is tasked with maintaining geographic names for the federal government, blocked a similar request from the state in 1991.

Harris County Commissioner Rodney Ellis, who co-sponsored the name change proposal 30 years ago, said he learned last year through an NPR reporter that just one of the 19 names he originally proposed be changed had been ― and that was due to a request from a local property developer in 2018. Two other locations he identified no longer exist, leaving 16 locations unchanged. He alerted state lawmakers about the locations that hadn’t been renamed.

“If it’s so easy to give an awful name, why isn’t it so easy to change that name?” Ellis told the Washington Post while blasting bureaucratic red tape.

The USBGN, which is part of the Department of Interior, has said the name changes were previously rejected because the proposed new names lacked a historical connection and because there wasn’t any evidence of local support. Both are requirements for a name change, even if a name is considered derogatory or offensive, according to the USBGN’s website.