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FOLSOM, Calif. -- A Stockton woman is trying to change the name of a local state park because she thinks it’s racist and offensive.
Phaedra Jones started a petition to rename the Negro Bar State Park in Folsom.
“I was so confused, shocked, angry, putdown, sad, hurt, disrespected and in disbelief. I couldn't believe that I had actually seen a sign that read 'Negro Bar,'" Jones told ABC10.
“It's ridiculous. It's part of our history,” said Larry Clarizio, who lives near the park and opposed the proposed name change.
California State Parks officials say its named after the African American miners who found gold there during the California Gold Rush.
"I like it being acknowledged,” said Kim Jones, who was getting ready to kayak on the American River. “It would be nice if there was more of an explanation, but I do find just the word as it is just offensive."
Clarizio says the Negro Bar is a historical landmark in Folsom and doesn’t believe it’s offensive.
"I mean, this place was originally where the black people did all their mining back in the day. This was a designated area and it's a part of our history," Clarizio said.
In a Facebook post, Kristen Johnson Lenz added, “It’s where the black people had a mining community during gold rush. It's historical. I hope folks will at least read the history and the intent before deciding to be offended. If there were Irish folks mining there it would be Irish Bar.”
Officials with California State Parks told ABC10 they do not have any plans to rename Negro Bar.
"Many feel that a name change would reduce the cultural significance and important contribution that African Americans made in the region," the department said in a statement. "While the Department of Parks and Recreation is very sensitive to the perception of unit names within our state parks, we are also very careful to insure that our rich California culture and history remain intact."
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