A Place Justice event hosted by Maine’s Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations
Tuesday, March 7, 2023 from 5:00 PM – 6:30 PM EST
A free virtual panel discussion that brings together national leaders in the struggle to remove racist place names across the U.S.
From islands to streams to summits, there are currently 11 geographic features in Maine whose names contain the word “Negro.” It was on encountering a similar place name while hiking in Shenandoah National Park that Public Interest Technologist Maurice Turner decided to embark on a journey to aid in the removal of racist names across the country.
Other changemakers have sought to effect similar results by passing laws at the state level. That is the case of Commissioner Rodney Ellis of Harris County, a former Texas state Senator who in 1991 co-sponsored legislation to change the names of 19 geographical sites in the state with racist names. Though that legislation passed, it was only in 2021 that the U.S. Board on Geographic Names approved replacement names for those sites.
In her role as Executive Secretary of the Council of Geographic Names Authorities, Christine Johnson will shed light on the challenges and opportunities that exist as federal and state agencies cooperate to remove derogatory terms from geographic features and cultural entities across the country.
Place Justice is a statewide truth-seeking and historical recovery initiative of the Permanent Commission on the Status of Racial, Indigenous, and Tribal Populations that seeks to engage Wabanaki and Maine communities in examining a wide range of commemorative practices to better understand and respond to the ways in which racialized and Indigenous populations are represented in or absent from the narratives inscribed on our natural and built environment.
The Place Justice Event Series will feature free, virtual and in-person panel discussions and film screenings to engage the public in considering some often complex and contentious issues. Whose stories are being told and whose suppressed? Whose legacies are being forwarded, and at whose expense?
Learn more about the Permanent Commission, the Place Justice Project, and the full event series.
Contact us with your questions: firstname.lastname@example.org