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Canyon Name Controversy

Canyon Name Controversy
July 30
10:37 2015

The Grand County Council will consider next week whether to change the name of a famous southern Utah canyon renowned for its scenic beauty.

Councilwoman Mary McGann says the name “Negro Bill Canyon” is offensive and hinders tourism. But McGann has encountered what some consider an unlikely foe:  the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, or NAACP.

Jeanetta Williams, who heads the NAACP in Utah, says, “The word ‘negro’ is not pejorative.  Removing it would assign a negative connotation to a word that is in the title of several prominent civil-rights organizations.”  She cites the United Negro College Fund and the National Council of Negro Women as examples.

The canyon was named after William Grandstaff, a cowboy of mixed race, who prospected and ran cattle in the canyon in the 1870s.

The site’s original name used the “n-word,” but it was changed in the 1960s.

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