Cumberland Times-News

Opinion

January 30, 2013

It’s our history

Renaming Negro Mt. would be ‘revisionist’

“Revisionist history” is a term that describes the altering of historical accounts to change what some consider an unpalatable truth to a version that’s more acceptable or politically correct.

Revisionist historians, for example, would just as soon we forget that prior to the Civil War, as many as 3,000 free blacks actually owned slaves in America.

It’s not a new phenomenon. During Prohibition, a movement arose in Cumberland to change the name of Wineow Street — not because of its spelling, but because it was pronounced the same as a common term for alcoholics.

Changing the name of Negro Mountain, as has been proposed by lawmakers in Pennsylvania and Maryland, would in our view be tantamount to rewriting part of our region’s history.

This isn’t the first attempt to have this done and, if it fails again, we doubt that it will be the last.

Tri-state area residents have always known it as Negro Mountain, and it has never had the negative connotation perceived by State Rep. Rosita Youngblood, D-Phila., and State Sen. Lisa Gladden, D-Baltimore. The two have teamed up to lobby for the renaming of the Appalachian peak that sits on the line between the two states.

Some historians believe the mountain was named for a black man accompanying Thomas Cresap’s rangers during the French and Indian War. The man, whose name according to some versions of the story was Nemesis, is believed to have saved Cresap’s life, while losing his own, in a battle with Indians.

He is thought to be a free black man. Some accounts say his name was Goliath, and that he was a man of large stature. According to a Times-News story in 2011, Nemesis had a premonition of his death, which he disclosed to Cresap before the battle. After Nemesis was laid to rest on the mountain, it was named in his honor.

Two years ago, Gladden introduced a resolution in the Maryland General Assembly to rename the mountain, but it died in a Senate committee. Western Maryland representatives Sen. George Edwards and Delegates Kevin Kelly, Wendell Beitzel and LeRoy Meyers testified against the bill.

A question of the week we posed at that time (Feb. 11, 2011) was: Should Negro Mountain be renamed? The response was 1,267 No votes and 93 Yes votes.

When Negro Mountain was named in the 1750s, it was considered a tribute to Nemesis’ courage and sacrifice on behalf of Cresap’s rangers. To rename it “Nemesis Mountain” would be to change an image that honors a significant act of bravery to one that suggests an ongoing source of harm or ruin. If anyone ever was misnamed, it was the heroic Nemesis — who was a nemesis only to the Indians he fought.

The historical context and importance of the French and Indian War in the development of our region and the nation as a whole should be the paramount issue.

We hope lawmakers in both states concur and put the Negro Mountain issue to rest.

1
Text Only
Opinion
  • Support Canal classrooms with tax-deductible gift

    While your April 17 article (“Park Service opens Canal classrooms,” Page 1A) described this exciting program accurately, your readers may be wondering how they can help support this new educational opportunity for school children in Allegany County.

    April 18, 2014

  • Ivan Hall story brings back memories of a unique man

    I enjoyed Mike Sawyers’ Ivan Hall story. It was well written and brought back some wonderful memories of my Cumberland days and especially, an unique man.

    April 18, 2014

  • It’s a secret It’s a secret

    Could someone enlighten us about why not even the names of the two entities bidding on development of the Footer Dye Works building can be divulged?
    A Times-News article about the bids included an explanation from a lawyer for the attorney general’s office about the need to keep the names and other information secret at this time. Despite that, the logic of not divulging at least a little more information escapes us.

    April 17, 2014 1 Photo

  • What do we do about those who weren’t criminals after all?

    Now that Maryland has become the 17th state to (finally) decriminalize possession of marijuana, one could say that the legislature and governor should be patted on the back for doing the right thing.

    April 17, 2014

  • The first step The first step

    If all goes as planned, Frostburg State University will one day offer a doctorate in nursing, a physician’s assistant program and a new health sciences building on campus.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Translations differ, but the message is eternal

    This letter is in response to a recent letter titled “One cannot compromise on God’s word” (April 13 Times-News). I had previously written a letter titled “Why are compromises so difficult to achieve” (April 7).

    April 15, 2014

  • Closing the loopholes will help clear the regulatory waters

    After a decade of uncertainty over Clean Water Act jurisdiction following Supreme Court challenges in 2001 and 2006, the Environmental Protection Agency and Army Corps of Engineers announced a forthcoming administrative rule to close enforcement loopholes, restoring protections to 20 million acres of wetlands, more than half the nation’s streams, and drinking water for 117 million Americans.

    April 15, 2014

  • The first step Remember where your freedom comes from before criticizing

    The deal at Fort Hood could have been avoided if it was caught in time.
    When you think a GI is not acting right, have him or her checked out before you put them back on duty and give them a weapon. Post-traumatic stress disorder is a serious and dangerous problem if it is not taken care of right away.

    April 15, 2014 1 Photo

  • Where to look Where to look

    Drive anywhere in Maryland and it seems there is one highway construction project after another. While it is good to see our roads and bridges being upgraded, it can be nerve-wracking for anyone traveling a long distance.

    April 14, 2014 1 Photo

  • Midterm elections give chance to return to American values

    A movement has been started by veterans of our armed forces to get out the vote in 2014. That includes Coast Guard and Merchant Marine personnel for those not familiar with the history of both and their sacrifice. This is no small special interest  group, but many millions of Americans who can have an enormous impact on the  outcome of the November election if they all respond.

    April 14, 2014