Push on to rename 'Negro Bill Canyon' in Utah

Associated Press

SALT LAKE CITY (AP) - A Moab man is leading a renewed charge to rename a Southern Utah canyon still bearing a moniker that some feel is inappropriate - "Negro Bill Canyon"

Louis Williams has posted an online petition that has drawn more than 600 signatures. He plans to submit a formal application to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names to have the canyon name changed.

He wants it to bear the last name of the black cowboy who ran cattle there in the 1870s, William Granstaff. The canyon name has already been changed once in the 1960s to "Negro Bill Canyon" from a more objectionable name that featured a derogatory word.

"The local story is he probably called himself that name," Williams told ABC4. "I'
d really like people to understand that I have found evidence that this man didn't go by this name."

Even though efforts to get rid of "negro" in the name failed in the late 1990s and 2000s, Williams said the time is now to make the switch.

"From people whose ancestors you know grew up here, their reaction to it is 'why are you trying to change history? My grandparents told me that's how he called himself', Williams told ABC4.  "What is it about this name of this gentleman that they have so much passion to try to hold on to, why do you want to hold onto this word?"

(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

More Stories

Don't Miss

Latest News

Video Center