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Historic neighborhood named for slave owner wants new name

January 7, 2021 GMT

LAWRENCE, Kan. (AP) — Residents of a historic area of Lawrence want to ditch their neighborhood’s name because it honors a slave owner.

The Lawrence Journal-World reports that the Pinckney Neighborhood Association announced this week that it is now taking suggestions for a new name.

The neighborhood was spurred to consider a name change as a response to civil unrest felt throughout the country this past summer after the death of a Black man, George Floyd, at the hands of Minneapolis police.

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The neighborhood bears the name of either Charles Pinckney or Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. The Pinckneys are two cousins from South Carolina who had successful political careers in the late 1700s and early 1800s but who also advocated for America to allow slavery to continue when the U.S. Constitution was ratified.

The association said in its announcement that it felt uncomfortable with the name, “particularly since the neighborhood is a historically Black neighborhood.”

An elementary school in the area also bears the Pinckney name. In the summer, Superintendent Anthony Lewis said the district planned to hold discussions on the issue in the fall. However, it’s unclear where the district currently is on the issue.