State board considers renaming South Dakota places - KSFY News - Sioux Falls, SD News, Weather, Sports

State board considers renaming South Dakota places containing the name 'negro'

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What's in a name?

Members of a state board on giving geographic places their proper name think quite a bit, if those names may be offensive to others.

They're taking a look at South Dakota places with the name 'negro'.

KSFY News spoke with the curator of the South Dakota African American History Museum to hear if he finds the word negro offensive.

It may or may not surprise anyone but he doesn't find the name negro offensive.

In fact he wants the names to stay as-is.

He believes it's important to remember why those places are called what they are called, and as a historian, he doesn't want people to forget.

Porter Williams is a sculptor and the curator of the South Dakota African American History Museum here in Sioux Falls.

While he works to preserve history, he's concerned the state is trying to erase it.

The South Dakota Board of Geographic names is considering removing the name negro from places such as Negro Creek, Negro Gulch, or Negro Hill.

"The state of South Dakota and the Geographic Board, they have it wrong. that's not the name. Negro is not the name of those gulches, the creeks, the different places out there in the hills," Williams said.

"If those places were named 'negro,' leave it alone, but it's not named negro. Every body knows if you go back and look, it's not negro, it's the 'N-word.'">

Williams tells us the state and the Board of Geographic Names don't know how to address the original names of those places.

But he believes any attempt to change the names is to whitewash history.

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