Neighbors proud of historic community, but disagree on how to spell its name

Dispute over how a town spells its name.

DALLAS - Some neighbors in the historic community of Joppa say they are divided over issues with the spelling of the community's name.

There are multiple spellings, and the variations change depending on who you ask

“J-O-P-P-I-E,” spelled Jonathan Whitfield. “That’s the way I spell it.”

“J-O-P-P-I-E,” another man spelled out.

Neighbors in the Freedman’s community have grown used to multiple spellings of the community’s name. The pronunciation is the same.

”The name of the community is spelled J-O-P-P-A,” said longtime neighbor Claudia Fowler. “It has always been the correct spelling of the community of Joppa. It is pronounced J-O-P-P-Y… ‘Joppy.’”

“But the correct name, which is biblical, is J-O-P-P-A.”

Fowler is among neighbors concerned about a newly dedicated historical marker that sits in the community’s park. Some say the marker is bringing about new tensions in Joppa.

“The only thing about this marker is that the name of the community is spelled incorrectly,” Fowler said.

J-O-P-P-E-E.

They are the six letters leaving members in the community split.

”We did not come up with the J-O-P-P-E-E for this marker,” said longtime neighbor Delveeta Thompson. “That was strictly the Texas Historical Commission.”

Thompson is among those embracing the spelling on the marker. She says it is part of the community’s history.

“With the dialect of the black slave…it was mispronounced so many ways,” Thompson explained.

The Texas Historical Commission says it is not uncommon to hear about these types of spelling concerns with historical markers. Workers at the agency say researchers dig deep to find the most documented history and use of a community’s name.

Residents like Fowler say they want to see J-O-P-P-A on the marker.

“I am on a launch committee and campaign to correct this at any cost necessary,” Fowler said.

Copyright 2016 WFAA


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