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CUMBERLAND, Md. (AP) — A Maryland state senator said Monday that she has introduced a bill seeking to rename two Appalachian peaks, Negro Mountain and Polish Mountain, citing cultural sensitivities.

State Sen. Lisa Gladden, a Baltimore Democrat, said she was joined by eight other Democratic co-sponsors in offering a proposal that would seek to create a commission to come up with new names by year’s end. She said new names are needed to more accurately reflect the history and culture of Maryland’s western Appalachian region near the state line with Pennsylvania.

Gladden said the name Negro Mountain has bothered her for years.

“Negro is a term that often has carried with it negative connotations about African-Americans,” Gladden told The Associated Press by telephone. “As we talk about inclusion and respect, Negro Mountain doesn’t fit.”

Yet lawmakers from the state’s mountainous western panhandle said the bill reflects political correctness taken to an extreme by legislators in Baltimore and Maryland’s Washington suburbs.

“It’s just asinine,” Delegate Kevin Kelly, an Allegany Democrat, told the Cumberland Times-News.

The bill revives a debate that last peaked in the mid-1990s when the Domestic Names Committee of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names refused to rechristen Negro Mountain as Black Hero Mountain. The committee found that the mountain’s name was not applied in a derogatory sense.

Supporters say Negro Mountain is dedicated to the heroism of an 18th century black man, though details are unclear. There is little in the historical record on the origins of the name Polish Mountain.

Sen. Jennie Forehand, a Montgomery Democrat, said both Negro and Polish mountains should have prettier names.

“Maybe I don’t know the history of how those mountains got named but I think if they were in my district, I would like to have a name that was perhaps more scenic,” she told AP.

Gladden’s proposal doesn’t include a call to rename another Maryland peak, Big Savage Mountain, but she said she also finds that name objectionable.

(Copyright 2011 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

Comments (21)
  1. kayguys says:

    Don’t the senators have better things to do with their time? Especially since none of the senators represent those who live in Western Maryland. Ridiculous!

  2. Robin says:

    I think there are much more important issues that have to be addressed in Maryland other then renaming a mountain.

  3. Erik says:

    Nothing better to do huh? I don’t hear people across the state complaining about this mountain. Give it a rest! Are you trying to bring up race relations and put one more thing in there to strain them?

  4. Lamont says:

    Is it not a Senator’s Job to speak for the American People? So this would be an important issue to people in a certain demographic and I’m sure this not only “irked’ her but several other Americans as well. The word is offensive whether honorary or not, luckily this Mountain is in Western MD where there aren’t a lot of people who understand the severity of the word.

    1. Ellen says:

      It’s a senator’s job to speak for the American people, not to use their office to change things like this for their own sense of being. No one else, but her, has a problem with the names. Thus, she is not speaking for the American people, but for herself.

  5. paul tupelo says:

    Is this really the best way to spend tax payer money? Over renaming mountains? Get Over It!!

  6. Barb Reilly says:

    What a waste of time and taxpayer money.

  7. Jogar says:

    Next we’ll have some idiot senator trying to rename Indian Head. By the way what’s wrong with Polish Mountain.Polish is the name of people from poland who probably enjoy having a mountain named after them. The word Negro is much less derogatory than others I have heard. How about banning the word honky,a derogatory word for whites.While we’re at it lets have a white history month.Maybe we should rename the White House. Get over it Lisa and concentrate on the ills of this states finances,roads,schools,jobs and on and on. Do the job you were elrcted for and shut up.

  8. Mike says:

    Maybe she should change the name of Baltimore City to MurderCity MD.

  9. liz4 says:

    I think she should move forward on the many urgent issues at hand. I don’t see the impact it has on our current everyday living.

  10. KottaMan says:

    Gladden, GET A LIFE ! Is this the most important thing you can do in the 90 days you have in Annapolis? In case you have forgotten, being in office is NOT about what cure for your personal temper tantrum you can get but about doing the work of your constituents. That are in Baltimore City not in Garrett or Allegany Counties!!

    Folks in W. Md. don’t want your intrusion anyway. Tis type of action, on your part, just throws gasoline on the fire of why so many in this state intensely dislike Baltimore City. Go do something about why the leading cause of death amongst black males in the City is homicide!!

  11. Mrs. Mia Wallace says:

    What an absolute IDIOT! Nothing else to worry about, eh Lisa? No wonder Maryland is in such sad shape.

  12. Billiam says:

    It seems we are all in agreement that this person we have unfortunately empowered to do things on our behalf is making it a point to rename mountains that have been named this for how long? All of the sudden – it bothers her, and she also finds Big Savage Mountain is objectional. Her counterpart, Ms. Forehand (maybe she should get that renamed!) wants something prettier? What is very scary is how each of these individuals have gotten to where they are and how long they have been in these seats. Get to work – on what matters!

  13. Sister Jan says:

    Two hundred years ago and for many years thereafter Negro’s were called colored people. The mountain was named for the black pine that covered the area until destroyed in a huge forest fire. Why not call it Black Pine Mountain since there is no verification that a colored man actually was attacked by Indians and was buried on the mountain…………another old fable. How many people who left comments would like their address to be Negro Mountain Road……….both black and white I believe would prefer another name. Sister Jan

  14. Western Marylander says:

    I’m curious if these same lawmakers have tried to change the name of the United Negro College Fund? Now, I’m going to go eat a Polish sausage.



  16. Chatterbox says:

    Obviously, politcal correctness has extended beyond reasonable measure in many arenas.

    Being a longtime Redskins fan, for example, I don’t want to see a name or marketbrand change for that franchise. But as you know, many people find it offensive. Conversely, Piestewa Peak, in Phoenix, was formerly named SquawTit (a name that only memorialized the ignorance of white men).

    A name change for Negro Mountain is obviously not the most pressing problem in Maryland.

    I do support, however, your right to persue a name change. For consistency, would you be willing to also support a name change for Assawoman Bay?

  17. Cee Rowell says:

    Traditionally you name things properly after the person who did the deed and not by his race. Still today we struggle to right the wrongs of our Jim Crow history. Don’t be bullied by those racist emails and letters Lisa! Give Nemesis his due.

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