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Mayor says Broward County’s name could change to avoid tribute to racist

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A petition to change the name of Broward County is gaining signatures as residents learn more about its namesake.

By Monday afternoon, the Change.org petition to Rename Broward County had more than 500 signatures. The goal is to get 1,000.

Broward County is named after former Florida Gov. Napoleon Bonaparte Broward, who served from 1905 to 1908. He is best remembered for draining and developing portions of the Everglades.

With the national focus on eliminating racism, a roster of petition signers cited Gov. Broward was an avowed racist segregationist.

That was the same reason why in 2017 local leaders removed a monument of him inside the Broward County Courthouse. The removal was about the same time Hollywood renamed three streets named after Confederate generals.

Broward County Mayor Dale Holness said changing Broward County‘s name to Fort Lauderdale County has been considered before for marketing purposes. He also said the nationwide push to stop commemorating historic figures who advocated slavery could be a better motive.

“Maybe we can benefit in two ways, harmony and healing, and to benefit the brand of Fort Lauderdale,” Holness said.

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