After 130 Years, Racial Slurs Deleted From Map in Rural CountyAP , Associated Press
Jul. 7, 1992 1:33 PM ET
SEBRING, FLA. SEBRING, Fla. (AP) _ After 130 years, the racially-charged names of a marsh and a bygone Civil War-era shantytown have been erased from official maps of rural Highlands County in south-central Florida.
''Niggertown Knoll'' and nearby ''Niggertown Marsh'' haven't been anything more than spots on the map for the better part of a century. But county officials say they recently deleted them without fanfare after complaints from a black educator.
''Many, many black people are truly hurt by this,'' said Leotis McNeil, an administrator at South Florida Community College. ''They could have taken it off years ago. I think the whole country and the whole world should know how this county cultivated racism by keeping 'Niggertown' on maps until 1992.''
County Administrator Carl Cool said the change only required having an employee use correction fluid to delete the words from official maps and from about 1,000 maps the county offers for sale.
One county commissioner says the names were too much a part of local history and folklore to erase.
''I don't think it should be up to us to change history,'' said Commissioner Audrey Vickers. ''There are all kinds of names out there that people don't like. Are we going to change those names too?''
Legend has it that freed slaves set up the shantytown 15 miles south of Sebring after the Civil War.
One account says it was branded as a haven for thieves and horse rustlers and burned to the ground by a white lynch mob around the turn of the century. Another version claims the residents simply moved away.
Wilderness has since reclaimed the spot.
Similar map changes are being considered in other parts of the state.
In Miami, a Jewish group is fighting to change the name of a tiny neighborhood still listed in official records as Swastika Park.
The subdivision near Miami's Orange Bowl was named in 1917, long before the good luck cross was adopted by the Nazis and became a symbol of anti-Semitism.