Listen Siblings, I come in peace,
“”Black” and “colored” on the other hand, have no historic meaning whatever for African peoples.” — J. A. Rogers
In today’s article we discuss the word “Negro.” Though, I admit, there’s more to this then meets the eye. That’s discussed here: What was our name? Halasiou — “Nominal Debate”. Please enjoy, and promote the organization of African people, the African Blood Siblings! And commit to building an African Blood Siblings Community Center so as to reconnect our people. Write for more information. Subscribe, share, love.
“Amazing Fact 91” an excerpt from “100 Amazing Facts about the Negro” by J. A. Rogers
The most ancient names for so-called black people are Nehesu, or Nubian; Ethiopian, and Moor from Ancient Egypt, and Negro or Nigrita from West Africa. All the above are native African words. “Negro” is probably the oldest as the Negritos are the oldest known branch of the human race. “Negro” comes from the River Niger. “Niger” found its way into Latin and since the people from that region were dark-skinned, Niger, nigra, nigrum came to mean black. Negro, Negrito, Nigrita, means “the people of the great river.” Black and colored, like white, are, on the other hand, European words. Ethiopian and Moor were popularly used to describe the so-called blacks until 1500. Shakespeare uses “Negro” only once and uses it synonymously with Moor. Africa comes from the ancient Egyptian “”Af-rui-ka,” or Kafrica, the land of the Kaffir.
For the history of the word, “Niger” and “Nigritia” from which “Negro” comes, see Sir William Smith’s Dictionary of Greek and Roman Geography, Vol. II, p. 429, as well as pp. 296-7. Also Journal Royal Soc., Vol. II, pp. 1-28 (1832) by W. M. Leake, who says with regard to the African origin of “Niger,” “More than one celebrated writer have fallen into the error of supposing ‘Niger,’ a Latin word.” Also Sir Rufus Donkine, “The Niger,” pp. 16, 144; and Gerald Massey, “A Book of the Beginnings,” Vol. III, p. 610. For the origin of “Ethiopia,” see Vol. I, p. 36 of the latter work.
“Black” and “colored” on the other hand, have no historic meaning whatever for African peoples. Black, from the Anglo-Saxon, blaec, has most horrible meanings. See any large dictionary. “Colored” is related to the Latin, celare, to conceal, to color up, to paint a thing other than in its true light. Thus the tendency to decry “Negro” on the ground that it means “slavery” is sheer ignorance. For instance, a Negro newspaper took a poll of its readers some years ago and they chose “colored.” But the jim-crow car, that greatest degrader of American citizenship is usually marked “colored.” The majority of this paper’s circulation is in the South. Did they choose “colored” so as to be in line with the jim-crow policy? Still another paper used “race-man” which makes the uninitiated think of the race-track. Another very racial group, chooses “black” which, as was said, is positively a white man’s word.
Of course, there is only one race–the human race. But of all the names used by the stronger group in America to set the dark-skinned citizen apart, Negro is the least objectionable. Not only is it very ancient but it has a record in America of four centuries of fortitude, endurance, and survival power, rare in the annals of mankind. “Negro” is making a splendid progress towards prestige in such terms as Negro spirituals, Negro boxer, Negro music, Negro athlete, Negro soldier, Negro loyalty.
There is not a single noted name that was not once used in contempt or is still even so used in parts of the world. Christian, Anglo-Saxon, Scotch, Irish, English, American, Yankee, all were once very much looked down on.
Shakespeare’s use of Negro deals with miscegenation. Merchant of Venice, III, v. 42.
I have dealt more at length on this subject in an article called, “What Shall We Call Ourselves?”
Having heard objections regarding the word “Negro” in the U.N.I.A. and A.C.L.’s name; I post this in response. Not coincidentally, the U.N.I.A. and A.C.L. presents the same response (http://www.theunia-acl.com/faqs.htm).
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