BRANFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– A landmark with an offensive name, Negro Heads in the Long Island Sound is closer to getting renamed. Sea Mist boat captain Mike Infantino Jr. said, “It’s been on all the nautical charts for as long as I can remember being on the water here.” Connecticut State Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. said, “The buoy and rocky outcropping off the Branford shoreline called Negro Head Rocks has been in existence for over a hundred years and we know from old nautical charts that it had an even more racially offensive name before that time.” Kennedy Jr. and other town leaders want the name changed on all government maps.
The state said the name was changed to Negro Heads between 1830 and 1880. Boat captain Mike Infantino says the name is offensive, but also part of the town’s history. Infantino Jr. said, “I was brought up that name with the old-timers around here but it was not used in a negative fashion.” We are a mile off the Branford shoreline. Here’s the landmark. You can only see the buoy but not the reef.
Infantino Jr. said, “You really can’t see it at low tide. I mean it needs to be an extremely low tide even just to get a glimpse of it in the water.” State Sen. Ted Kennedy Jr. added, “I think that many people in Branford have been aware of the name Negro Head Rocks and have been concerned about the name but didn’t really know how about changing it or even if it could be changed.” Community leaders and town historians came up with a process for changing the name engaging school children. Branford High School students were asked to rename the landmark as part of an essay contest.
Infantino Jr. added, “I think it’s great to get the kids involved in something like this and that’s how they learn history and why things are being changed.” Friday the first place winner of the essay contest will be announced. The name will be submitted to the state’s geographic naming board to begin the process of renaming the landmark on all government maps. The top three essay winners will receive scholarships.