BAYTOWN, Texas – Texas Rep. Al Green joined the NAACP Houston Branch and several of Houston’s elected officials in convening a press conference to demand the racially, insensitively named “Negrohead Lake” be renamed “Lake Henry Doyle” Monday morning.
The Baytown lake, which was formerly named “Ni**er Lake” before it was changed in 1962, has caused officials to stand firm against its name that has caused much offense over the years.
Officials are asking lawmakers to move swiftly in the renaming of the lake as a way to come against racism and social inequality.
A proposal to change the name of the lake to Henry Doyle was submitted in 1991, but in 1999, the proposal was rejected by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names because the board did not observe any evidence that there was any local involvement in the renaming process, according to Texas Hometown Locator. Officials said the lake is one of 33 landmarks in Texas with similar offensive names. Of those, 21 had the authority to be changed by legislatures.
Attorney Gary L. Bledsoe said Henry Doyle was the first African-American to apply at the University of Texas at Austin’s temporary law school for Blacks, which was established by the Texas State University for Negroes (now known as Texas Southern University) during a time when he wasn’t allowed to enter the classroom with his white peers. He ended up going to TSU, where he studied at Thurgood Marshall School of Law, Bledsoe continued. He was the first African American on the First Court of Appeals.