President Barack Obama will travel to Alaska for a climate change summit where he will meet Alaska’s Native Americans, reported CBS News. Obama will also rename Mount McKinley to its proper name, Mount Denali.
“We are honored to be able to officially recognize the mountain as Denali,” said Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-AK). McKinley is the world’s third most prominent peak and it received its name after President William McKinley signed the Mount McKinley National Park Act in 1917. Renaming it to Denali is a nod to Alaska’s Native Americans.
“I’d like to thank the president for working with us to achieve this significant change to show honor, respect, and gratitude to the Athabascan people of Alaska,” said Murkowski. Despite the historic renaming of McKinley, one historical landmark with an unwanted name still exists in southern Pennsylvania: Negro Mountain.
The exact origins of Negro Mountain’s name are lost in history. Pennsylvania State Rep. Rosita Youngblood (D) said “Through a school project, my son and granddaughter first informed me of the name of this range and I found it to be disparaging that we have one of our great works of nature named as such.”
It’s possible the actual naming might not have originated in a disparaging manner. Many theories, according to WikiPedia, hold that the naming was to honor a black man who died fighting among white men in a skirmish with Indians. However, even if this is true, then why not rename the mountain to name it after the man, who died or at least in a clearly positive reference to Black heroism.