Congressman Al Green Joins NAACP Houston President Dr. James Dixon, Commissioner Rodney Ellis in Demanding Name Change of Racially Offensive “Negrohead Lake”

Feb 8, 2021

(Houston, TX) – On Monday, February 8, 2021, Congressman Al Green joined the NAACP Houston Branch and several of Houston’s elected officials in convening a press conference to demand the racially, insensitively named “Negrohead Lake” be renamed “Lake Henry Doyle.”

Congressman Al Green stated, “As a liberated Democrat, I find the utilization of the word ‘negro’ to denote a person of African ancestry to be greatly offensive. It connotes a caricature of human inferiority reminiscent of a bygone era when blackness was defined by a predominantly white power structure; a power structure that employed the dehumanization of Black people as a means of justification for segregation and invidious discrimination. This is why ‘Negrohead Lake’ must be renamed.”

“As a more enlightened society – with certain legacy historical exceptions, such as the NAACP – we now recognize that the word ‘negro’ is but one relic from the era of lawful invidious discrimination that must be inexorably expurgated from public property,” Congressman Green added. “This is why I am an original cosponsor of Rep. Deb Haaland’s (D-NM) H.R. 8455, the Reconciliation in Place Names Act, which would create a process to review and revise offensive names of federal land units across our country.”

He continued, “This is also why I introduced a resolution to remove another obnoxiously offensive relic of this racially polarized era, which currently permits the Old Senate Office Building to be a symbol of national shame as it bears the name of Senator Richard B. Russell. Senator Russell was a premier bigot of his time, having opposed civil rights as ‘unconstitutional and unwise,’ filibustering an anti-lynching bill in 1935, proudly upholding white supremacist ideals, in addition to supporting segregation and refusing to observe Brown v. Board of Education. No public building should bear his name, and my resolution, H.Res 1042, calls for the removal of his shameful name from this tax-payer built, funded, and maintained Senate Office Building.”

Congressman Green stated, “We are inspired by the profoundly moving oration of the immortal James Weldon Johnson: ‘Let us march on ‘til victory is won,” paying homage to Lift Ev’ry Voice and Sing. “We’ve come too far to turn back.”

“Our march to victory over all forms of invidious discrimination must be holistic and inclusive if we are to eliminate the hate that divides our nation. It must also be centralized and organized as a Cabinet-level Department of Reconciliation. It has to be well-funded with a Secretary of Reconciliation at the helm,” Congressman Green explained.

“The Department of Reconciliation would be charged with the task of identifying and renaming places with racially discriminatory names such as Negrohead Lake and the Russell Senate Office Building. Among other things, it would also work to eliminate systemic biases against marginalized communities in policing, criminal justice, housing, banking, voting, employment, education, environmental justice, health care, and social interactions. Without a Department of Reconciliation, we will continue to silo solutions to systemic issues rather than comprehensively addressing these vestiges of our nation’s seminal sin – slavery.”

In conclusion, Congressman Green stated, “In the time-honored words of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.: ‘We must learn to live together as brothers [and sisters] or perish together as fools.’”