The Corner

South Dakota Board on Geographic Names Unanimously Votes to Allow ‘Negro’ in Place Names

The South Dakota Board on Geographic Names, prompted by black leaders, has decided to seek the repeal of a state law that requires renaming locations that include the word “Negro.”

Currently, South Dakota law requires that the Board rename places that include “squaw” or “Negro” in their name. However, black leaders have said the term “Negro” is not offensive and should remain in order to recognize the contributions of blacks to the state’s history.

The Board agreed and voted unanimously yesterday to ask the state’s legislature to change the law so that “Negro” can remain in place names such as Negro Gulch, Negro Canyon, and Negro Hill, among others. However, the term “squaw” would still be considered offensive. 

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