Agassiz Greenway Being Renamed After Racist History Uncovered

During a public meeting, the Council received comments about Agassiz's views on systematic racism and white supremacy.

FARGO-MOORHEAD – A few months ago, when Agassiz Greenway was still an idea, members of the committee wanted to give the project a name that would stick.

The name was given after Louis Agassiz, a well-known biologist and geologist from the 1800.

“It’s kind of a name that symbolizes our region it seems like and so, the committee really felt like it was appropriate and it was considered because of the geography and the geology of our region,” says Fargo-Moorhead Metropolitan Council Executive Director Cindy Gray.

During a public input meeting last week, the Council of Government received comments about Agassiz’s views on systematic racism and white supremacy.

In 1850, Agassiz commissioned pictures of an enslaved man Renty Taylor and his daughter to support his belief in black inferiority according to the New London, Connecticut newspaper The Day.

“Immediately one of our staff started doing some online research and trying to, you know, figure out what that was in reference to and once we found out we were very surprised and had no idea,” she says.

The group is now working to rename the project hoping the focus will be once again on the concept of continuing growth and prosperity in the F-M area.

“We certainly do not want to have associated or choose a name that has such terrible meaning and history for everyone,” Gray adds.

Many businesses and organizations in the area are named after the geologist.

Among them are Agassiz School in Fargo.

Fargo Public Schools was first made aware after a letter was published by a member of the board to The Forum earlier this week.

“At this point the board has not discussed or nor any board committee the name of the Agassiz facility, and I’m not aware of any upcoming discussions related to it,” says Robin Nelson, the president of the Fargo School board.

The school board says renaming Aggasiz School could be discussed if it gets enough attention from the public.

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