Racial Brook Name Won’t Change For Now | WAMC

Racial Brook Name Won’t Change For Now

Jun 17, 2021

A Vermont board on Thursday rejected a proposal to rename a brook that has an outdated racialized name to the name of a Black woman who was an early settler of the town.


The Board of Libraries received a petition to rename a stream in Townshend State Park currently called Negro Brook. The petition asks that the brook be renamed after Susanna Toby, a Black woman who was an early settler of the town.

The Brattleboro Reformer reports that the Board expressed a willingness to consider a different name or Susanna Toby’s married name. The newspaper reports that renaming the brook after Susanna Toby is controversial because the last name could be considered pejorative.

The town's Select Board wants to allow voters to weigh in on the question next March, which could delay action by the state Board of Libraries.

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