NAACP Houston and others seek renaming of Negrohead Lake
NAACP Houston headquarters signage. Photo by Aswad Walker.

The NAACP Houston, led by President Dr. James Dixon, in collaboration with Harris County Precinct One Commissioner Rodney Ellis and United States Congressman Al Green, is convening a press conference to publicly call for the renaming of Harris County’s Negrohead Lake. 

Dixon, Ellis, Green and other invited community members are holding a press conference on Monday, Feb. 8 at 10am at the NAACP Houston headquarters (2002 Wheeler Ave., 77004) to officially make the call to remove the name Negrohead Lake, and change it to Lake Henry Doyle.

Doyle was the first student to apply for the temporary law school for Blacks set up by the University of Texas that operated in Austin until the law school at Houston’s Texas State University for Negroes was operational. UT set up the makeshift law school suit by Houston’s Heman Sweatt who sought admission to UT’s law school.

According to an NAACP Houston statement, “The cause of freedom and equality requires the eradication of racism in every form; this includes the need to remove racially offensive names from public facilities, lakes, creeks, buildings and streets.” To that end, the contingent of Houstonians set to gather on Monday are demanding the lake’s name change.

But this call for change and for respect is nothing new. In 1991, then Texas Senator Rodney Ellis co-sponsored House Bill 1756 that was to result in the removal of racially offensive names from publicly owned parks, lakes, creeks etc. It was recently learned that only one such change was made. Additionally, in September 2020, U.S. Representative Al Green co-sponsored federal legislation, H.R. 8455, filed by U.S. Representative Debra Haaland of New Mexico, that would change the process for U.S. Board on Geographic Names.

The NAACP Houston Branch will announce its firm position that names like Negrohead Lake are unwelcoming to the very citizens whose tax dollars fund their maintenance and upkeep. Further, these names continue to perpetuate the embarrassing legacy of discrimination, encouraging younger generations of Americans to adopt toxic values of racism and superiority.

The NAACP Houston statement asserted, “We affirm our support that local, state and federal authorities move will all deliberate speed to rename Negrohead Lake to Lake Henry Doyle.