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The name of Georgia's Runaway Negro Creek was so offensive it was changed to Freedom Creek

CNN logo CNN 4/16/2019 By Doug Criss, CNN
a close up of a map: A Google Maps aerial view of the newly renamed Freedom Creek in coastal Georgia. © from google maps A Google Maps aerial view of the newly renamed Freedom Creek in coastal Georgia.

It took awhile, but the effort to rid a Georgia stream of its offensive name has finally succeeded.

Runaway Negro Creek, a small waterway on the state's Skidaway Island near Savannah, has been officially renamed Freedom Creek.

The US Board on Geographic Names, which maintains uniform usage of place names throughout the federal government, voted to OK the name change during a meeting last week.

"The name has been updated in the Board's official geographic names database, and future editions of federal maps will reflect the change," geographer and board research staffer Jennifer Runyon told CNN in an email. 

The move to change the name gained momentum last year as people complained it was culturally insensitive.

It also highlights a small piece of history. The original name dates back to at least the Civil War, when it's believed escaped slaves from a nearby plantation would swim across the creek to freedom on islands controlled by Union troops, CNN affiliate WJCL reports.

State Sen. Lester Jackson sponsored a resolution last year to change the name of the creek, which Georgia lawmakers approved and was later signed by former Gov. Nathan Deal. But the change wasn't official until the Board on Geographic Names gave its blessing to the new name.

CNN has reached out to Jackson for comment and is waiting to hear back.

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