"New Columbia" . . . "Banneker" . . . "North Potomac."
These are some of the widely varying names proposed so far by delegates at the D.C. constitutional convention for the District in the event it should become a state.
A total of 11 names, disclosed last night at a meeting of the convention's preamble and rights committee, is just the beginning, convention first vice president James Baldwin said, and convention officials hope to solicit more names, not only from delegates, but from city schools and on radio talk shows.
The 45 convention delegates are currently about a third of the way through a 90-day session in which they are writing a constitution for submission to District voters and Congress in the city's bid to become the 51st state of the union.
Proposed names for the new state include such familiar geographical references as "Potomac," "North Potomac," "South Potomac," Columbia," "Washington" and "Rock Creek."
Several delegates also recommended the surnames of various black leaders, such as "Douglass" (for abolitionist Frederick Douglass), "Banneker" (for 18th-century surveyor Benjamin Banneker) and "Hobson" (for D.C. Statehood Party leader and City Council member Julius Hobson Sr., who died in 1977.)
Ward 6 delegate Charlotte Holmes also proposed the name "Independence." Ward 3 delegate Franklin Kameny suggested that the convention explore possible use of Indian place names, such as "Potomac" and "Anacostia."
Baldwin said "Columbia" appears to the most popular name so far with endorsements from at least seven delegates. "New Columbia" is next with four endorsements and "Hobson" with three, he said.