Local historian Hanif Haynes, foreground, along with Georgia state Sen. Lester Jackson, right, and local historian Jamal Touré, stops his boat near the mouth of Runaway Negro Creek near Pin Point in Savannah. Savannah-area residents want the official name of a creek on Skidaway Island to be changed from Runaway Negro Creek to Freedom Creek. (AJC Photo/Stephen B. Morton)
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution
Photo: The Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Feds approve renaming of Runaway Negro Creek near Georgia coast

Runaway Negro Creek is no more. It's now called Freedom Creek.

The U.S. Board of Geographic Names voted Thursday to rename the 1.5-mile creek near Skidaway Island. Opponents of the creek's former name said it was culturally insensitive and offensive.

The decision ends a two-year effort to rename the creek after residents said it should more accurately reflect the history of the area. The Savannah Morning News reported the name change Sunday.

“The previous name has no place in our society,” U.S. Rep. Buddy Carter, a Republican from Pooler, said in a statement. “I am very glad our community came together at the local, state and federal levels to make this happen.”

The creek was given its previous name because slaves from the Modena Plantation on Skidaway Island would escape and try to cross to Union-occupied islands during the Civil War.

State Sen. Lester Jackson, a Democrat from Savannah, worked to change the creek's name after he heard from residents during a public meeting in 2017.

The Georgia General Assembly passed a resolution seeking the name change last year, and then the Georgia Archives petitioned the government in December. 

The process concluded with last week's approval from the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, which is tasked with maintaining uniform usage of geographic names across the country.

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