The National Audubon Society announced on Wednesday that its board of directors had voted to retain the organization’s name despite pressure to end its association with John James Audubon, the 19th-century naturalist and illustrator who enslaved people.
The bird conservation group said its decision came after more than a yearlong process that included input from hundreds of its members, volunteers and donors. Despite Mr. Audubon’s history as an enslaver with racist views toward Black and Indigenous people, Elizabeth Gray, the chief executive of the National Audubon Society, said in a statement on Wednesday that the board of directors “decided that the organization transcends one person’s name.”
She added that the name Audubon had “come to symbolize our mission and significant achievements that this organization has made in its long history.”
The decision to keep the name bucks a recent trend of social reckoning that had led to renaming schools, parks and other organizations named after people with racist histories.
This is a developing story.