It’s 2018 and there is still a creek in Georgia named “Runaway Negro Creek.” But Georgia Senators want to change that.
The State Senate unanimously adopted a resolution, 51-0, Wednesday to urge the federal government to rename the creek to Freedom Creek. It was introduced by state Sen. Lester Jackson.
Jamal Toure teaches Africana studies at Savannah State University and said “Freedom Creek” is a good choice for a number or reasons. One being that’s what motivated slaves to run away.
“That is the natural derivative of what was going on,” Toure said. “Africans were not just running away to play in the water. They were running away with a purpose in mind and what’s the purpose they have in mind? Freedom.”
The creek is between 1.25 and 1.5 miles long. It flows from Skidaway River just outside of Skidaway Island State Park near Savannah.
Toure noted most of the city’s focus lately has been on the bridge named after a white supremacist and former Georgia governor.
“The sexy thing is to talk about the Talmadge Bridge and Eugene Talmadge,” Toure said. “Now, people don’t want to to go and point to something that harkens back to a time period that we want to ignore. When you talk about runaway Negroes you have to talk about the captivity of Africans.”
Legislation was introduced in Georgia House earlier this session regarding the name change of the bridge.
The U.S Board on Geographic Names makes the final decision on naming the creek.
The name was officially added to its list in 1979 but has been used on U.S Geological Survey maps since 1944.
Civil War armies used the name to refer to the creek as early as 1864.