WBTV Investigation leads to state legislation to change creek na - WBTV 3 News, Weather, Sports, and Traffic for Charlotte, NC

WBTV Investigation leads to state legislation to change offensive creek name

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We're On Your Side getting results from a WBTV investigation.

This week, The North Carolina Legislature passed a bill, asking all state and federal agencies to remove the term Negro Head Creek from all official documents.

State lawmakers took up the bill after we reported that the offensive term was still being used by many agencies.

The ripple effects from the creek can be felt from Union County to the halls of Raleigh.

State Senator Joel Ford moved house bill 636 on to the floor of the North Carolina Senate.

It passed 48 to 0.

28 years ago, Bea Colson pushed Union County commissioners to change the name to Salem Creek.

That's when they agreed to ask the federal government and state to get rid of the offensive term.

"We know the pain. We know the experience that went on," Colson said.

The pain resurfaced after learning that government agencies had not corrected many official documents and in some instances the feds referred to the creek with the full blown N-word.
That was the goal of Representative Kelly Alexander's House Bill 636.

He said, "We want this straightened out as quickly as possible."

The vote in the North Carolina House and Senate was to back the name change was unanimous, but even with approval of the legislation.

There is the potential that the offensive name of the past can show up on future documents."

"It's unfortunate that we have to legislate the bureaucracy in Raleigh, but that's what we had to do," Senator Ford said.

For Bea Colson who is a retired principal, it is another lesson in learning.

She said, "We can't change history, but we can move forward."

The next step in erasing the stigma from the creek waters comes when the governor signs the bill passed by the House and Senate.

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