SEATTLE (AP) — The Seattle chapter of the Audubon Society says it is dropping “Audubon” from its name because the man whose name the organization bears was a slave owner and opposed abolition .

KNKX reports that Seattle Audubon is one of the largest chapters of the National Audubon Society, the nonprofit organization dedicated to protecting birds and their habitats, but Seattle Audubon is one of the largest in the country.

Earlier this month, the board voted to change the chapter’s name because the man whose name the organization bears – illustrator, painter and bird lover John James Audubon, author of the founding work “The Birds of America” ​​- owned slaves.

J. Drew Lanham, former board member of the National Audubon Society and professor of wildlife ecology at Clemson University, called the decision courageous.

Lanham, who wrote about Audubon and quit the national chapter over concerns the nonprofit was not doing enough for racial equity, says organizations need to ask themselves what to do about monuments problematic.

“Excusing inhumane acts as simply being in the context of their time is, I think, a lazy excuse,” Lanham said.

Last year, the Audubon Naturalist Society, a Washington, DC-based environmental organization, also announced that it would drop “Audubon” from its name, but it is not affiliated with the National Audubon Society.

Seattle Audubon plans to choose a new name by the end of the year.

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