This article first appeared in Pittsburgh Post-Gazette on May 19, 2019

What started out as a wholesome commitment by a group of Pittsburghers to be stewards of a Maryland picnic area has been insulted by a perplexing response from the Maryland Department of Transportation’s State Highway Administration.

The first sign of trouble was actually the absence of a sign, the one that, last October, read “Negro Mountain, Elev. 2,875” beside a picnic area in Garrett County. It had been there for years.

The highest point along the National Road, U.S. Route 40, was named Negro Mountain to honor a black frontiersman named Nemesis who died to save the lives of the rest of his party, including a colonel for whom he was described as a “body servant” during the French and Indian War.