Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore City, introduced Senate Joint Resolution 3 in the General Assembly Thursday with eight Democratic co-sponsors. It would create a commission to rename Negro Mountain in Garrett County and Polish Mountain in Allegany County by year’s end “to reflect more accurately the history and culture of the region.”
Both ridges extend north into Pennsylvania, as does Big Savage Mountain, another name Gladden finds objectionable.
She said Negro Mountain has irked her since she first visited western Maryland as a state delegate-elect in 1998.
Lawmakers from the state’s mountainous western panhandle said the bill reflects political correctness run amok among legislators from the Baltimore-Washington area.
The bill revives a debate that last peaked in the mid-1990s when the Domestic Names Committee of the U.S. Board of Geographic Names refused to rechristen Negro Mountain as Black Hero Mountain. The committee found that the mountain’s name was not applied in a derogatory sense.
Historical records contain two stories about the naming of Negro Mountain, which rises to 3,075 feet in Maryland, and 3,213 feet in Pennsylvania. In one account, a free black frontiersman named Nemesis was killed during a skirmish with Indians in 1756 while serving in a militia during the French and Indian War.
In the other version, a large black servant named Goliath was killed while protecting his master, Capt. Andrew Friend, from an Indian attack on their hunting party.
Gladden suggested the mountain be rechristened Mount Nemesis.
Sen. Jennie Forehand, D-Montgomery, said both Negro and Polish mountains should have prettier names.
Maryland State Senator Lisa Gladden.