Google has removed the name “Temple Town” from Google Maps following a community petition that garnered university support requesting the change. The informal term refers to the area surrounding Main Campus, but conflicted with the neighborhood name, the Cecil B. Moore Community.
In an address to the residents of the Cecil B. Moore Community, Christine Brown ﹘ a resident in charge of the community organization, Beech Community Services ﹘ shared a response she said was from Ken Lawrence, senior vice president for government, community and public relations at Temple.
“Temple University is not in any way responsible for this designation on Google Maps or anywhere else it might appear” Lawrence wrote in an email to Brown. “Temple University does not support or promote the use of this designation to refer to any neighborhood in North Philadelphia. On this issue, we are in absolute and complete agreement. We do not support the use of ‘Temple Town’ to refer to any neighborhoods.”
Lawrence did not return multiple requests for comment by The Temple News.
The letter also states the university will work with the surrounding communities to remove the name “Temple Town” from online services when referring to the Cecil B. Moore Community and North Central Philadelphia.
“Countless residents that I spoke with, young and old are highly offended by the use of the name,” Christine Brown, a member of the Beech Community, told The Temple News in an email. “Our Consortium of Cecil B. Moore Organizations will continually engage and be vigilant about maintaining the identity of the Cecil B. Moore Neighborhood. More dialogue between the developers and the community must take place. The residents need to be included in the plans for their neighborhood and they must have real ownership in the community.”
The area, between Broad Street to the east and 24th Street to the west and Girard Avenue to the south and Susquehanna Avenue to the north, wishes to keep the history of the neighborhood intact by honoring the life of Moore, a Philadelphia lawyer and City Council member who worked to desegregate schools and increase representation of poor African Americans.
“This community was named the Cecil B. Moore Neighborhood long before many or most of the students were born,” Brown said. “All the residents are asking for is respect and inclusion.”
Zach Winger, a sophomore music education major, lives in an off-campus apartment said he is indifferent to the change.
“I wouldn’t say I have a strong preference for either name,” Winger said. “I prefer the title ‘Cecil B. Moore Community,’ but I find the whole argument ironic given Cecil B. Moore’s life and what he stood for.”
Tim Mulhern can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org