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Article-a-Day #105: NPR-Why Do So Many Places In Texas Have ‘Negro’ In Their Name, Despite A Law Against It?

Scattered across the state, there are places named “Negro Bend,” “Negro Hollow” and “Negrohead Bluff,” among others. The 1991 bill sought to ban the word from all Texas geographic features, listing 19 examples.

The places were to be renamed after African Americans who made significant contributions to the state.

But the federal board in charge said no.

It turns out that states do not have the authority to officially rename their geographic features. That authority lies with the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, which is part of the Department of Interior.

The state submitted proposals for each of the places it identified. But the proposals were rejected because they did not have a historical connection to the geography they would name, USBGN researcher Jennifer Runyon said.

And there was no evidence of county support or input, she said, which the board takes seriously when renaming features.