When did "Black" start replacing "negro"?

Seán Fitzpatrick grendel.jjf at VERIZON.NET
Fri Jun 2 22:48:13 UTC 2006

Another date marker:  in (by) 1963, "most of us" polite people said "black",
which tends to confirm the RHUD, and the shifting fashion in political

“At the University of Pennsylvania, in a state where thousands died at
Gettysburg          opposing slavery, the president of that college
officially set up segregated dormitory space for black students.
“Yeah, I know ... that's out of bounds now. Dr. King said 'Negroes.' Jimmy
Baldwin and most of us on the March [on Washington, 1963] said 'black.' But
it's a no-no now.”-- Charlton Heston, “Winning The Cultural War”,  Harvard
Law School Forum, February 16, 1999

Seán Fitzpatrick
Proud to be in more officially recognized
victim groups than you
-----Original Message-----
From: Sam Clements [mailto:SClements at NEO.RR.COM]
Sent: Wednesday, 24 May, 2006 22:30
Subject: When did "Black" start replacing "negro"?

We're in a debate over at the Straight Dope.

A poster pulled up what appears to be a cite from the Random House
Unabridged Dictionary:

" In the late 1950s BLACK began to replace NEGRO and today is the most
widely used term."

What percentage of polite people would have used "black" instead of "negro"
in 1959?  I didn't think "black" was used in any significant way until the
mid-late 1960's.  But I'm willing to listen to any evidence.

I guess what I'm looking for is just "how significantly" did the word
"black" enter into the language before say, 1965?

Sam Clements

The American Dialect Society - http://www.americandialect.org

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