Is ‘Negro Bar’ an offensive park name? A new petition effort says it is

A petition calling for Folsom’s Negro Bar Recreation Area to be renamed is gaining traction online, arguing that the current race-related name is “out-of-date and offensive.”The petition was initially created in September by Stockton resident Phaedra Jones after she saw a sign for the park while driving through Folsom. It has more than 3,800 signatures as of about 2 p.m. Wednesday.

“I was so confused, shocked, angry, putdown, sad, hurt, disrespected and in disbelief. I couldn’t believe that I had actually seen a sign that read ‘Negro Bar,’” Jones wrote in her petition.

The park’s name is derived from the racist moniker tied to a similar gravel bar just across the water where Black miners discovered gold during the Gold Rush. Through the 1930s, the site was known and identified with the racist term both in newspapers, and in at least one U.S. Geological Survey from 1941, according to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.

“The Name Negro Bar has been offensive for literally decades. I am sure historians can find the name of at least ONE African American Miner or Settler whose name can be used,” reads one comment from a petitioner.

“It’s offensive and unwelcoming. The fact that we still haven’t changed the name reflects poorly on our community,” another said.

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