Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

February 4, 2013

Mountain’s name is offensive; there are reasons to change it

I am writing in response to the Cumberland Times-News editorial entitled “It’s our history: Renaming Negro Mt. would be ‘revisionist,’” Jan. 31 Times-News.)

Your notion to retain the name of Negro Mountain, because to change it was “revisionist,” is myopic and wrong. The name of the man for whom the mountain was named was Nemesis. Nemesis sacrificed himself for the good of the Rangers.

His was the most noble and supreme act of heroism; he gave his life so that others could live. A tribute to Nemesis for his bravery should be to honor the person by name and not because of his skin hue.

The name Negro Mountain is offensive and an embarrassment to our area, and its name should be changed to honor the individual who died.

The notion that no errors from the past can be corrected because they are historical means that we can never make up for a mistake. (You know: it is history.)

On the contrary, it is possible for us to change and evolve.

 Let me cite an example of how change is possible. In 2003, the state of Arizona changed the name of Squaw Peak to Piestewa Peak. Why would they revise their history and rename their geography?

Arizona, realizing that it is better to revise and move forward, renamed the mountain to honor an individual.

The name they chose was to honor of Army Spc. Lori Ann Piestewa, the first Native American woman to die in combat in the U.S. military, and the first female soldier to be killed in action in the 2003 Iraq War.

 May we, too, do the honorable and ethical act: change Negro Mountain’s name and call it Nemesis Mountain.

I hope the legislatures in Maryland and Pennsylvania will recognize the God-given personhood of Nemesis and name the mountain in question after this heroic individual.  

Bart R. Thompson

Short Gap, W.Va.

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