Letter: Name of pond needs to be changed
To the Editor:
I'm an angler. I see rivers, ponds, streams and lakes as opportunities to catch and release fish, learn about the habitat they live in and possibly find a little peace in a world that can often feel rattled.
Fly fishers are always looking for places to practice their sport. That's where we connect with nature. I was looking at the Winooski River in the Northeast Kingdom at the recommendation of a fellow fly fisher. "Big brown trout in there," he said.
Down a rabbit hole I fell. On Google Maps, a 14-acre miniature body of water appeared. "Negro Pond." I was stunned by the name, but also, found myself wondering about its origin. "Spanish"? Maybe, a terminus of the underground railroad? I started my search.
A phone call and an email later I learned that Negro Pond" is in Westmore. It was renamed "Mud Pond" many years ago. Not a lot better-but no racial edge, only an insulting image of more dirt than water. Do not swim/fish/go to Mud Pond.
While it may be known and labeled as "Mud Pond" in property records, the Internet and even the Gazetter tell a different story. "Negro Pond" is a small body of water in a small town in a small state. But the name is reflective of centuries of an unkind history. That word was common in the Jim Crow South, but it still lingers on 14 lovely acres of fishing potential in the upper right hand corner of Vermont.
It's time to make changes in the caring and just spirit that we are working on in our country. "Negro Pond" is ready for a new identity.
The time is overdue to have a new generation call it by a new name. We can help make that change at this moment. As an angler ready to head northeast, I suggest we change it respectfully so that Negro Pond/Mud Pond might better be known as "Humanity Pond."
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