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https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20150&cosponId=17117
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House of Representatives
Session of 2015 - 2016 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: February 2, 2015 01:01 PM
From: Representative Rosita C. Youngblood and Rep. Seth M. Grove
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution urging the renaming of Negro Mountain (former HR 89)
 
In the near future, Rep. Seth Grove and I plan to reintroduce a resolution (former HR 89) that would urge the Governor to create a commission, or take other executive action, to rename Negro Mountain in Somerset County.

For those who may not know, Negro Mountain is an approximately 30-mile long ridge of the Allegheny Mountains that spans from Maryland north into the Casselman River in Somerset County, Pennsylvania. In 1756, during the French and Indian War, a battle broke out between Native Americans and volunteers, including British-born pioneer Thomas Cresap. A black frontiersman, by the name of Nemesis, was mortally wounded during the battle, and, instead of taking shelter, he told the remaining members of his party to leave, bravely sacrificing himself so the others could retreat to safety.

All historical accounts state that Negro Mountain took its name from this battle, notably from the heroism of the "Negro" who gave his life to protect the other volunteers. During a time when people of color were identified more as property than as individuals, it might have seemed a fitting honor to name the site of this battle as “Negro Mountain.” And although the term “Negro” Mountain may not be seen by some residents of the Commonwealth as a derogatory term, the fact remains that history reflects the “Negro” had a name – Nemesis. This Commonwealth has a long history of recognizing its heroes by name – and Nemesis should not be an exception. Pennsylvania should take steps to rename the mountain for the man, not the race of the man, who saved the lives of so many.

To further highlight the controversy of the name of this mountain, the Pennsylvania Official Transportation and Tourism Map distributed by the Department of Transportation does not reference Negro Mountain. Yet the map does provide reference to Mount Davis, the highest peak of Negro Mountain named for after John N. Davis, the settler who once owned the land. If the Commonwealth’s own embarrassment toward the name “Negro Mountain” causes them to leave any reference off of its official tourism map, the Commonwealth has a duty to find an appropriate name that truly honors the hero Nemesis.

We respectfully ask for your support and cosponsorship of this resolution so that Pennsylvania can accurately reflect the history of the region and the heroism displayed by the African American known as Nemesis in the Negro Mountain conflict of 1756.

Previous copsonsors include: YOUNGBLOOD, DONATUCCI, COHEN, CLAY, CALTAGIRONE, PAINTER, THOMAS, MAHONEY, MILLARD, GROVE, V. BROWN, KORTZ, READSHAW, QUINN, MURT, BROWNLEE, KINSEY, SIMS, DAY, McGEEHAN, SANTARSIERO, CRUZ, D. COSTA, WATSON, FABRIZIO AND STURLA

Any questions or concerns, please contact my office at 717-772-9920.

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Introduced as HR103