NATIONAL NEWS

NYC bird group drops name of illustrator and slave owner Audubon

Jun 11, 2024, 9:26 AM

NEW YORK (AP) — The conservationist group known as NYC Audubon has changed its name to NYC Bird Alliance to distance itself from the pro-slavery views of ornithologist and illustrator John James Audubon, the organization announced.

The name change, which was formalized by a June 5 membership vote, follows similar moves by Audubon Society chapters in Chicago, Seattle, Portland, Oregon and other cities.

“Names may be symbolic, but symbols matter,” said Jessica Wilson, NYC Bird Alliance’s executive director. “They matter to staff, to volunteers, to members, and to the larger conservation community. We collaborate widely with our partners across the five boroughs, and want this name change to signal how much we value and seek broadly cooperative efforts to save wild birds.”

The newly named NYC Bird Alliance formed in 1979 and calls itself an independent chapter affiliated with the National Audubon Society, whose board voted last year to keep the Audubon name despite the fact that Audubon was a slave owner and an opponent of abolitionism.

Audubon, who lived from 1785 to 1851, is known for documenting birds and illustrating them for his master work “The Birds of America.”

Audubon owned enslaved people for a number of years but sold them in 1830 when he moved to England, where he was overseeing the production of “The Birds of America,” according to Gregory Nobles, the author of “John James Audubon: The Nature of the American Woodsman.”

When Britain emancipated enslaved people in most of its colonies in 1834, Audubon wrote to his wife that the government had “acted imprudently and too precipitously.”

NYC Bird Alliance’s leaders say they hope that dropping the Audubon name will help them win broader support for their mission of advocating for endangered and threatened bird species.

“For the sake of the Piping Plover, Philadelphia Vireo, Golden-winged Warbler, Cerulean Warbler, Bobolink, Saltmarsh Sparrow, Fish Crow, and many other species, we need help,” NYC Birding Alliance says on its website’s “FAQS About Audubon Name” page. “We cannot allow our name to be a barrier to our conservation, advocacy, and engagement work.”

National News

Associated Press

Man who followed woman into her NYC apartment and stabbed her to death pleads guilty to murder

NEW YORK (AP) — A man pleaded guilty to murder on Tuesday for stabbing a woman to death after following her from the street into her lower Manhattan apartment building. Assamad Nash, 27, also pleaded guilty to burglary as a sexually motivated felony in the Feb. 13, 2022, attack on 35-year-old Christina Yuna Lee. “Today […]

30 minutes ago

Associated Press

Vermont lawmaker apologizes for repeatedly pouring water in her colleague’s bag

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — A Republican state lawmaker from Vermont has apologized for repeatedly pouring water into a Democratic colleague’s bag, after he caught her doing it on video. State Rep. Mary Morrissey publicly apologized to state Rep. Jim Carroll, colleagues and the citizens of Vermont from the House floor on Monday. Both are from […]

34 minutes ago

Associated Press

Google to invest another $2.3 billion into Ohio data centers

COLUMBUS, Ohio (AP) — Google will invest an additional $2.3 billion to support three data center campuses in central Ohio, the company announced Tuesday. The tech giant has centers in New Albany and Lancaster and one under construction in Columbus to help power its services such as search, Gmail, maps, cloud and YouTube for users […]

49 minutes ago

Associated Press

Massachusetts suffers statewide outage of its 911 services

BOSTON (AP) — The 911 system across Massachusetts went down Tuesday afternoon, making it impossible for anyone to reach emergency services. “The State 911 Department is aware of a disruption to the 911 system and is investigating the cause,” the state’s Office of Public Safety and Security said in a statement. Boston Police Commissioner Michael […]

2 hours ago

Associated Press

15-year-old girl shot to death hours before her middle school graduation, authorities say

LOWELL, Mass. (AP) — A 21-year-old man has been arrested and charged with fatally shooting a 15-year-old girl hours before she was scheduled to attend her middle school graduation in Massachusetts, authorities said. Not guilty pleas were entered in court Tuesday on behalf of Trevor Bady. He was arraigned on charges of of murder, armed […]

3 hours ago

Associated Press

Montana canal siphon splits open, flooding area and threatening local farming industry

BABB, Mont. (AP) — Montana state officials were scurrying Tuesday to stop flooding caused by the breakage of a century-old pipe used to deliver drinking water to 14,000 residents and carry irrigation water to farms. No injuries or deaths have been reported since the pipe split open Monday, causing flooding in the rural area east […]

3 hours ago

NYC bird group drops name of illustrator and slave owner Audubon