nullIt looks like one of the earliest settlers of Los Angeles might finally be getting his long overdue place on the map.

In 1859, an African American man named John Ballard married his wife and moved from Kentucky to the then-still-small town of Los Angeles, where the California Constitution allowed them to own land and property. Eventually, Ballard became a civic leader in the city, growing wealthy and helping to found the African Methodist Episcopal Church in the late 1860’s.

He moved out of the city in 1880, settling on land near Seminole Hot Springs in the Santa Monica Mountains, which he was eventually given the rights to homestead shortly before his death in 1900.

The prominent mountain near Ballard’s land was dubbed a less-than-PC name for decades, until the Civil Rights Act forced cartographers to change the name of the mountain to the slightly-more-PC-by-comparison-but-still-pretty-bad “Negrohead Mountain.”

This week, the LA County Board of Supervisors officially supported a movement to get the 2000+ foot peak renamed Ballard Mountain, in a move that I’m really surprised took this long.

But hey, like our state budget, better late than never!

Tags: , , , ,

Join the Modern Hiker Newsletter

Learn about new trail guides, outdoor news, and be the first to learn about events in the free Modern Hiker Newsletter. All original content and guaranteed not to flood your inbox -- new issues usually come every 2-3 weeks.