By Elizabeth Klinge

FOLSOM (CBS13) — After years of controversy, a historic park in Folsom could soon be getting a new name.

Negro Bar Recreation Area is a popular state park with a name many people find offensive.

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It sits on a historical bend in the American River called a “bar” where a Black township was located during California’s Gold Rush days.

“There were plenty of African Americans in the gold fields or doing the work that served the people who were doing the mining,” said Susan Anderson, a history curator with the California African American Museum.

For years, there have been efforts to rename the park.

“We need to do something about the derogatory name,” Anderson. “We’ve heard from so many people how offensive this is.”

But others have resisted a change, fearing the significant contributions of African Americans would be lost.

“There’s a cultural history that needs to be recognized at the same time,” Anderson said.

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Now, the California State Park and Recreation Commission is considering a new name — Black Miners Bar. Some people like the idea.

“I think it’s fine. It still supports the history of the area,” one person in the park said.

“I think it actually portrays the significance a little more than the old name. Now, people kind of get an idea of the history behind it,” another person in the park said.

But others say it just doesn’t sound right.

“It’s too generic and it doesn’t have the kind of local meaning that it could have,” Anderson said. “Black Miners Bar could be anywhere.”

And even this new name, if approved, may not last long. The parks department considers it temporary and is asking historians at the California African American Museum to take the next year conducting more research on the area and come up with other ideas that reflect the site’s cultural heritage.

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Friday’s meeting is open to the public and the state is asking for input on the proposed new name.

Elizabeth Klinge