In Savannah Georgia, Runaway Negro Creek’s name, on its own, told the story of a sordid history of a people whose history of oppression was sealed within a moniker that was no longer acceptable to say.
On Thursday the U.S. Board on Geographic Names voted to make things right and change the name of the waterway called Runaway Negro Creek, to Freedom Creek, after residents lobbied to remove the culturally insensitive term, Savannah Now reports.
Back in January, Georgia Archives officials started the process to change the waterway’s name and on April 11, the USBGN voted and approved the new name designation of the creek.
According to a press release from Sen. Lester Jackson (D-District 2), the name change was originally proposed after a public interest meeting during the summer of 2017, where residents voiced concerns saying it was culturally insensitive.
“We need to replace this antiquated symbol with one that is more representative of the events of the 1800s. We will be redefining history by shining a light on the events that transpired at Freedom Creek and honor the movement of freedom,” Jackson said in 2018.
The creek is located along the border of Skidaway Island State Park.
The creek earned its name because it allegedly was the place where Modena Plantation slaves crossed on their journey to freedom during the time of the Civil War.
“This name change is certainly welcome news. 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,” said U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter (R-Ga., 1st District).
In part, the resolution reads that “the name of such creek should be changed to reflect this state’s commitment to freedom and the inalienable rights of the men and women who pursue it.”