Residents push to change community name from Cameron Park to Raleigh

RALEIGH, NC (WTVD) – For Lucy Keenan, her community, the historic Cameron Park area, is progressive. She has lived in the community for almost 20 years. It was there that she brought her newborn son back from the hospital many years ago just days before Christmas.

“Overall, we’re voting blue. Pretty liberal policy,” Keenan said. “All the neighbors came to sing songs. It’s one of the things every time I talk about it, I choke. It was so beautiful.”

This is where most residents have a lot in common, from political opinions to general beliefs. However, his name has become a point of contention.

“In my opinion, the name no longer reflects our values ​​as a progressive and liberal people,” Keenan said.

Earlier this year, a nearby shopping center changed its name from Cameron Village to Village District. North Carolina historians say there is a dark history behind the name. The Cameron family were one of the largest and wealthiest slave families in the state. They owned plantations in Alabama and Mississippi. The Cameron family numbered over 900 people enslaved before the Civil War at the Stagville Plantation in Durham.

“It was not just a marginal family who enslaved people working on their land. They were people who ran what people would call a forced labor camp,” said Professor Emeritus Robert Korstad of the ‘Duke University.

This sparked a wider conversation among black and Asian residents of Cameron Park who asked white neighbors to remove the name in a letter.

More than 100 neighbors have backed him, including Tammy Blackard-Cook, who says changing the name won’t change racial inequalities in this country.

“But it’s a symbol that matters. As a white neighbor in this community, and someone who has friends of color in this community, I don’t want to guess that,” she said.

On Thursday, community members voted on what to do about the name. A resident wishes to keep it as it is.

“I guess our neighborhood will vote to change the name. I’m okay with that, but we’re going to have a tough job coming up with a new name,” said Michael Lindsay.

Neighbors said it would take 10 days to get results from the community on how they voted, as the names of some were a painful reminder.

“White supremacy… racial inequalities are kind of a part of the air we breathe,” Keenan said.

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