Two people fighting to change name of ‘Negro Creek’ in Bureau County

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BUREAU COUNTY (WEEK) — With a history that includes an offensive racial slur dating back to the days of slavery, two people are now working together to change the name of a small creek in Bureau County.

“She said no, it’s called n***** creek,” said Depue resident, Charlie Klinefelter.

Klinefelter grew up near Negro Creek. It’s an 11-mile long stream, he said is often called another offensive “N” word by the people of Bureau County. He said his mixed-race children have been targeted with those slurs before.

10 years ago, Klinefelter tried to change the name, but did not know how to make it official.

Now years later, a woman who grew up in Ladd wanted to be his ally.

“Hearing also that the slur was still used to refer to the creek just broke my heart and I knew I had to do something,” said Amy Urbanowski, who is advocating for the renaming.

The Bureau County Historical Society said the creek was named after an African-American named Adams, who settled near the creek in 1829.

“I can understand back in the early 1800’s a black man couldn’t have something named after him, but this is 192 years later,” said Klinefelter.

The two of them have now gone to a federal agency to make it Adams Creek.

“It is right to pay our respect to him and change the name,” said Urbanowski.

Although, the process has not been easy.

They said they needed support to present the name change to the Bureau County Board. That’s when Urbanowski reached out to Don Jackson, with Peoria’s NAACP branch.

“I didn’t believe her,” Jackson continued, “It needs to be changed there’s no question about it.”

Last week, the Bureau County Board unanimously agreed, approving the request to rename the creek after Adams.

“To hear everyone say “I,” I was brought to tears,” said Urbanowski.

Urbanowski said she has now submitted paperwork to the National Board on Geographic Naming to try to make it official.

“This creek name should be changed for the community, for the children in the community, understanding that words matter,” said Urbanowski.

“We’re moving in the right direction,” said Klinefelter.

They have no timeframe for a decision, yet.

The post Two people fighting to change name of ‘Negro Creek’ in Bureau County appeared first on WEEK.

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