Tuesday, December 21, 2010

African-American Enters The Scene

On December 21 Black History....

In 1988, The term, "African American" was coined as Jesse Jackson urges its use.

Let's look at the history of the term:

Afro-American was first used as an adjective in 1853 in a publication in Windsor, Ontario, Voice of the Fugitive. The OED2 lists examples of Afro-American and Aframerican from 1890, 1898, 1910, 1934, 1939, and 1944, the last being a use of Aframerican from an article by H.L. Mencken.

African-American was first used as a noun in 1855 and as an adjective in 1858. The OED2 gives cites for one or the other use from 1858, 1885, 1890, 1925, 1962, 1969, 1973, 1979, and later.
(source:  http://forum.wordreference.com/showthread.php?t=260015)

In 1987, Dr. Johnny Duncan published a Black History Calender in which he also used the term African-American in which he included the poem he wrote, "I Can."  Dr. Duncan was written in an effort to rename Black people in America.  According to Dr. Duncan, Rev. Jackson became familiar with the term through his calendar and poem that was given to him by Coretta Scott King.

http://www.archive.org/details/DrJohnnyDuncanInterviewafr-i-canAmer-i-can (listen to interview with Johnny Duncan here)

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