"People of color" was; Re: Whom Hispanics call "Hispanic" -- or not

Thu May 28 15:36:19 UTC 2009

        This "person of color" was a different term, meaning someone who
included slaves in his or her ancestry (mulattos, quadroons, octoroons,
etc.).  Persons of color were presumed free but could be slaves
themselves.  I see examples back to 1796, and it's probably older.
Although it usually refers to an African-American, it can also refer to
a descendant of an enslaved Indian, according to an 1817 South Carolina

        I didn't see any examples of it used by blacks to refer to
themselves in the early 19th century, but perhaps that came later.  Is
this the same as "colored," now found only in the full name of the

John Baker

-----Original Message-----
From: American Dialect Society [mailto:ADS-L at LISTSERV.UGA.EDU] On Behalf
Of Joel S. Berson
Sent: Thursday, May 28, 2009 10:40 AM
Subject: Re: "People of color" was; Re: Whom Hispanics call "Hispanic"
-- or not

At 5/28/2009 09:54 AM, Baker, John wrote:
>         When "person of color" first became popular, back in the early


Just a historical note, recalling that Paul Johnston mentioned the use
of "nonwhite"in the 19th century:

The phrase "person of color" was quite common from the early 19th
century, circa 1815 on, in the various laws controlling them (in many
cases, in "negro, mulatto, or person of color").  It was also used, for
a while, by some blacks to refer to themselves (other blacks were
critical of that term).


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