Should The Negro Islands Off Castine Be Renamed? [POLL]
Oh, what to do?
Following a complaint from someone last year, residents of Castine in a recent town hall meeting voted 44-33 to put together a committee that would decide whether or not to change the names of Upper and Lower Negro Islands just off the coast of town in the Bagaduce River.
If the committee does indeed find cause to change the names of the Islands, the buck would stop with the U.S. Board of Geographic Names, a federal group responsible for doling out name changes.
Prior to the meeting and apparently after a little research, it was discovered that the islands had been given those names sometime before 1790, which would kick the theory that they were part of the Underground Railroad out the window. The Underground Railroad was used to sneak slaves from the south to the states of the north and to Canada years after that.
There also is some sort of "oral history" that back in 1793 following the Revolutionary War, British loyalists were traveling between Canada and New York, and that they stopped in the area for a while. The black travelers with them spent their time on the islands, presumably.
According to a story in the Ellsworth American, the executive director of the Castine Historical Society has heard from several African-Americans who were wondering why people would want to change the names of the two islands.
The newly formed committee will thoroughly investigate making sure that history is not lost while ensuring that the final outcome will not be insulting in anyway to anyone, and if a name change is warranted residents of Castine would vote on whether or not to submit a name to the U.S. Board of Geographic Names.
The person who originally brought it all up to Castine officials suggested Upper Bagaduce Island and Lower Bagaduce Island as the new names, but the two connected islands were named what they are for a reason that seems to be unknown to anyone at this point.
What do you think?