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https://www.legis.state.pa.us/cfdocs/Legis/CSM/showMemoPublic.cfm?chamber=H&SPick=20170&cosponId=23755
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House of Representatives
Session of 2017 - 2018 Regular Session

MEMORANDUM

Posted: April 26, 2017 02:20 PM
From: Representative Rosita C. Youngblood
To: All House members
Subject: Resolution urging the renaming of Negro Mountain
 
In the near future, I plan to reintroduce a resolution that would urge the United States Geological Survey within the Department of the Interior to officially 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. All historical accounts state that Negro Mountain took its name from a battle in 1756 during the French and Indian War. During this battle between Native Americans and volunteers, a black frontiersman, by the name of Nemesis, was mortally wounded, 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.

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,” to recognize the heroism of the "Negro" who gave his life to protect the other volunteers. But the Commonwealth has a long history of recognizing its heroes by name – and Nemesis should not be an exception.

To further highlight the controversy surrounding 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 after John N. Davis, the settler who once owned the land.

In fact, my office received a call earlier this year from the great-grandson of John Davis, Mr. Lee Davis, who mentioned that he wanted to help change the name of Negro Mountain, because “…it doesn’t reflect the legacy of my great-grandfather or our family.”

If the Commonwealth’s own embarrassment toward the name “Negro Mountain” causes them to leave any reference to it off of its official tourism map, and the family of John Davis finds the reference appalling, I believe that it’s time for the Commonwealth to find an appropriate name that truly honors the hero Nemesis.

I respectfully ask for your support and cosponsorship of this resolution so that Pennsylvania can take the appropriate steps to 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. Pennsylvania should be allowed to take steps to rename the mountain for the man, not the race of the man, who saved the lives of so many.

Previous copsonsors include: YOUNGBLOOD, GROVE, CRUZ, KINSEY, COHEN, THOMAS, MILLARD,
J. HARRIS, BISHOP, SCHLOSSBERG, KIM, ACOSTA, KIRKLAND, FARINA, CALTAGIRONE, BROWNLEE, HENNESSEY, V. BROWN, SIMS, SCHWEYER, STURLA, FRANKEL, GAINEY, WATSON, MOUL, D. COSTA, WATERS AND MURT