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: Stephen B. Morton
Photo: Stephen B. Morton

Georgia Senate votes unanimously to rename Runaway Negro Creek

The state Senate on Wednesday voted 51-0 to rename Runaway Negro Creek on the Georgia coast to “Freedom Creek.”

“Intentional or not, the current name of such creek serves to cast, edify, and perpetuate a posture of criminality upon the men and women who pursued the inalienable right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness,” Senate Resolution 685 states.

The creek runs along the edge of Skidaway Island State Park near Savannah. If the resolution gains passage by both chambers and receives the signature of the governor, the renaming still won’t be final. The University System of Georgia’s Division of Archives is the state’s authority on geographic names, and the resolution would order the division to ask the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to make the change.

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According to a local historian, Jamal Touré, the creek is named after slaves from the Modena Plantation on Skidaway Island who would escape and try to cross the water to Union-occupied coastal islands along the river during the Civil War.

State Sen. Lester Jackson, D-Savannah, sponsored the resolution. “It means a lot, not only to the people of Chatham County but to the people of this country,” he said. “It’s not changing history, it’s redefining it,” moving the focus from slaveholders who saw property running away to a human being running toward freedom.

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