Utah’s Negro Bill Canyon gets a name change

Grandstaff Canyon trailhead sign. Photo: Michele Johnson, BLM

MOAB, Utah, Sept. 28, 2016 (Gephardt Daily) — Negro Bill Canyon has been renamed to honor the same historical figure, but with a little more racial sensitivity.

The canyon and trailhead — named to honor black cowboy and prospector William Grandstaff — is now known as the Grandstaff Trailhead.

More than two dozen signs have been replaced. Bureau of Land Management spokeswoman Lisa Bryant has said the BLM was in favor of the change, which was approved by the Grand County Council after being voted down in 2013 and 2015.

The canyon and trailhead had one previous name change in the 1960s when it was switched to Negro Bill from a more derogatory term.

Grandstaff lived in the area in the 1870s, and ran cattle, prospected, and eventually became a bootlegger.

His business partner was a Canadian trapper known only as Frenchie. According to Wikipedia, Grandstaff  was well liked, and considered something of a local hero.

The NAACP previously went on the record as opposing the change, arguing that the term Negro was not considered derogatory in its time, and should not cause offense.

Negro Bill Canyon trailhead sign. Photo: Wikipedia
Negro Bill Canyon trailhead sign. Photo: Wikipedia




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