A Place for "Potentially Offensive Place Names"

What's in a name? Apparently, reports Kim Severson, some not-so-subtle reminders of a segregated American landscape. And changing them is not easy."The United States Board on Geographic Names, the federal agency that maintains the official names of m
October 7, 2011, 5am PDT | Judy Chang
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"The United States Board on Geographic Names, the federal agency that maintains the official names of more than 2.5 million streams, mountains, cities and civic buildings, lists 757 names that use the word Negro or a variation, said Lou Yost, executive secretary of the board."

"Local residents, including some African-Americans, sometimes see no reason to change a name that has always been there. Others argue that changing race-based names is political correctness run amok."

"With millions to track and countless versions of official maps on file both on paper and digitally, order must be maintained. It is a Sisyphean task that falls to the keepers of the national database of place names, the Geographic Names Information System."

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Published on Thursday, October 6, 2011 in The New York Times
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