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

Georgia officials to urge feds to change name of Runaway Negro Creek

The Georgia General Assembly will urge the federal government to change the offensive name of a body of water on Skidaway Island. 

State Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, said locals would like the Runaway Negro Creek to instead be called Freedom Creek.

The House on Thursday approved Senate Resolution 685, which will direct state officials to urge the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to change the name of the creek. The board is tasked with maintaining uniform usage of geographic names across the country.

State Rep. Mary Margaret Oliver, D-Decatur, unsuccessfully attempted to amend the bill on the floor to also change the name of Savannah’s Eugene Talmadge Memorial Bridge.

Lawmakers in both chambers introduced legislation that would have named the bridge instead after Savannah native and Girl Scouts Founder Juliette Gordon Low. Neither bill got any traction this year.

Savannah residents have said they not longer want the bridge to be named after Talmadge, a former governor who was an ardent segregationist.

Lou Yost, the executive secretary for the federal board of names, said once an official request is received, board members will obtain input from county officials and any nearby Native American tribes before making a ruling on the name change.

He said the process could take “a few to several months.”

While Yost was unable to find evidence of the creek once having a more offensive name, local newspapers had references to the name containing a racial epithet in the late 1800s.

Jackson has said he is confident the federal government will honor the request.

Stay on top of what’s happening in Georgia government and politics at

Related Stories