Negro Head Creek's offensive name turning heads Union County - | WBTV Charlotte

Maps still show "Negro Head Creek," 27 years after name change


Workers at the Union County planning office are revisiting a controversial mapping issue that should have been taken care of decades ago.

Planning director Richard Black is attempting right a wrong over the name of a local tributary once known as "Negro Head Creek."

"The soil survey has corrected it, "Black said." The turnpike authority Monroe Bypass map is correct, and then I found map on my wall that had the offensive term, the very offensive term."

By all appearances, what's now known in most circles as Salem Creek is serene, and quiet, but back in 1985, County Commissioners unanimously asked the federal government to change the name.

The feds agreed to do so, but it still shows up on maps that were made later, an online in a U.S. Geological survey report we shared with Union County residents who were offended.

Franklin Deese is the only African American mayor in Union County.  He represents Marshville and grew up near the tributary.

Deese is among the disappointed.

"27 years later after the government says no, and it's still like that. That's where it becomes offensive." He said.

County planners are asking the USGS to revisit the issue.

Black said, "It's still appearing in various publications with the not the corrected and name and how do we go about making the corrections."

 Meanwhile, Mayor Deese is hoping any future name change will be permanent.

Deese said, "Change it right away, and put a conscious effort to change it so in 20 years from now so we're not visiting the same thing."

Conversations are underway between the Union County planning department and federal officials to clear up what many see as a mistake.

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