The residents of the neighborhood formerly known as Pinckney have spoken, and in a mail-in ballot vote, they have selected Pinkney as the new name for their neighborhood.
The selected name differs by only one letter, but represents a vastly different mindset from the Pinckney who owned hundreds of slaves.
“Thanks to all who participated in the final round of voting for our new neighborhood name. Based upon the final tally of all eligible votes submitted (totaling 359 individual votes), the new neighborhood name receiving the most votes is Pinkney,” the neighborhood association posted to its website Monday.
Neighborhood residents ages 16 and up were eligible to vote. As the Times reported, in fall of 2020, the residents decided to rename the area in favor of someone who was not “one of the most ardent defenders of slavery at the Constitutional Convention,” as the neighborhood put it in a news release.
“George Floyd’s killing in May 2020 sparked protests around the world and forced people to have frank and ongoing conversations about racism in society,” the neighborhood association said in a news release last month. “Locally within the Pinckney Neighborhood, that meant acknowledging the fact that many residents felt uncomfortable honoring Charles Cotesworth Pinckney and his family – particularly since the neighborhood is a historically Black neighborhood.”
William Pinkney was the seventh U.S. attorney general. He delivered an antislavery speech in 1789 that was turned into a widely circulated pamphlet, according to the association’s website.
The new name will be formally submitted for ratification at the neighborhood association’s next monthly meeting, set for July 17.
An initial vote narrowed a dozen choices down to the four finalists. The other three were:
• Riverbend, for the bend in the Kansas River that creates part of a boundary of the neighborhood.
• Woody Park, in honor of Elgin Woody, a Lawrence citizen who was committed to improving the lives of African American youth. Woody Park at Second and Maine streets was renamed for him in 1973 to recognize his devotion to organizing local sports programs and creating a supportive environment for African American youth at a time when no leagues would allow them to play.
• Cameron’s Woods, for Lawrence founding father and eccentric abolitionist Hugh Cameron. Also known as the “Kansas hermit,” he lived in the neighborhood for just a year, in a treehouse he built in the ravine at Fifth and Indiana streets.
The final vote tally was 156 votes for Pinkney; 90 for Riverbend; 78 for Woody Park; and 35 for Cameron’s Woods, according to the website.
The neighborhood association anticipates it will take six to eight months to swap out signage, according to the website.
The neighborhood’s boundaries are roughly Sixth Street to the south, Iowa Street/McDonald Drive to the west, the Kansas River to the east and Interstate 70 to the north.
• July 5, 2021: Residents select new name for Pinckney neighborhood: Pinkney
— Mackenzie Clark (she/her), reporter/founder of The Lawrence Times, can be reached via email at email@example.com or 785-422-6363.