Loading...

Our N-Word Mountains

Comments (0)

By

Tue, Feb 24, 2009 at 1:29 PM


Today's L.A. Times reports that "authorities" have decided to rebrand Malibu's Negrohead Mountain with a more palatable designation. (No, not African American Dome.) The idea is to rename the 2,000-plus-foot peak for the name of its original inspiration, John Ballard. Ballard was a former slave who settled in L.A. in 1859, eventually moving his family onto hundreds of acres in the Santa Monica Mountains.

click to enlarge Buttesx_thumb_371x279_thumb_225x169.jpg

The Times piece, by Bob Pool, provides some interesting history to an all but forgotten Malibu legend while also noting, in a gentlemanly way, that the U.S. Geological Survey's designation for the mountain "is a refinement of the slur then used by pioneers." In other words, the USGS calls the peak Negrohead Mountain instead of the one pcked by locals 120 years ago -- Niggerhead Mountain. That name was one of many geographic slurs that didn't sound so bad when they were first handed out. Even today San Bernardino is home to Pickaninny Buttes, as well as Negro Butte -- which is a "modern" euphemism for its less-refined birth name.

Related Content

Now Trending

Los Angeles Concert Tickets

Slideshows

  • 21st Annual Classic Cars "Cruise Night" in Glendale
    On Saturday, spectators of all ages were out in multitudes on a beautiful summer night in Glendale to celebrate the 21st annual Cruise Night. Brand Boulevard, one of the main streets through downtown Glendale, was closed to traffic and lined with over 250 classic, pre-1979 cars. There was plenty of food to be had and many of the businesses on Brand stayed open late for the festivities The evening ended with fireworks and a 50th anniversary concert from The Kingsmen, who performed their ultimate party hit, "Louie, Louie." All photos by Jared Cowan.
  • The World Cup Celebrated And Mourned By Angelenos
    The World Cup has taken Los Angeles by storm. With viewings beginning at 9 a.m., soccer fans have congregated at some of the best bars in the city including The Village Idiot, Goal, The Parlour on Melrose, Big Wang's and more. Whether they're cheering for their native country, favorite players or mourning the USA's loss, Angelenos have paid close attention to the Cup, showing that soccer is becoming more than a fad. All photos by Daniel Kohn.
  • La Brea Tar Pits "Pit 91" Re-Opening
    Starting June 28th, The Page Museum once again proudly unveils the museum's Observation Pit, which originally opened in 1952 but has spent most of the last half century closed. Now visitors can get an up-close look at Pit 91, which is currently under excavation. The La Brea Tar Pits, home of the Page Museum, is one of the world's most famous ice age fossil locations, known for range of fossils from saber-toothed cats and mammoths to microscopic plants, seeds and insects. The new "Excavator Tour" is free with museum admission if purchased online at tarpits.org . All photos by Nanette Gonzales.