Johnson County Officially Changes Namesake
Johnson County is still called that, but according to the Cedar Rapids Gazette, a change that has been in talks for months is now official. The name won't change but the namesake will, no longer referring to Richard Mentor Johnson, a lifelong slave owner from Kentucky with no connection to the state of Iowa or Johnson County. It's likely he was chosen, in 1837 as noted by Iowa's News Now, for having been Vice President of the United States under Martin Van Buren.
It will now be named after Lulu Merle Johnson. She was not only the first black woman to earn a doctorate from the University of Iowa, but the first to do so nationwide. The Johnson County board of supervisors started discussing the namesake change last year, and agreed on Lulu Merle Johnson at that time. This week it became official.
Supervisor Lisa Greene-Douglass read the resolution approving the namesake change, which was unanimously approved by the board:
The people of Johnson County acknowledge that names carry power and believe the county eponym should be a person who both embodies their sense of values, ideals and morals and has a personal connection to Johnson County and the state of Iowa
We know people have lots of opinions about recent name changes to school mascots, parks, and other entities that have been made to be more sensitive to cultures that have found them offensive. What is your take on this very interesting latest move for an entire county in Iowa? Feel free to share your thoughts in the comments.