"Afro-American", 1880, from Lawyer Waring

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Oct 13 16:21:03 UTC 2011

David G. Loiterstein of Readex informs me of the following, which was
written by the lawyer E. J. Waring in 1880, just two years after the
date he claimed for "his" coinage of "Afro-American".  (I missed it
yesterday when I was at my large-university's library, searching for
the various terms, probably because I generally skipped over
instances that were shown only as headlines in the search results lists.)

Among other things, it interdates the OED  1853--1890.
Why Not Afro-American?  [title]
   Not much reflection is required to reveal that the epithets
commonly applied to the colored man are inappropriately and totally
non subversive of their purpose, in that they do not ethnologically
show who he is.
We trace our lineage from the Anglo American and African races, we
were born in America, hence we are indisputably Afro Americans.
   [Waring goes on to argue why this is an appropriate term --
ethnologically, grammatically, by (sufficiently short) length,
because "we must, as do other races, insist upon a recognition of our
true pedigree", because it will convince people "that we are members
of the great American Nation, and will greatly contribute toward
overthrowing the barrier of race and color caste which is our bane as people."]
   [signed] E. J. Waring. Columbus, O.
Cincinnati Commercial Tribune; Date: 07-17-1880; Volume: XL; Issue:
299; Page: 4.  [I can't download this from home, so I can't give you
the column number, but it may be the rightmost (vertical rule absent
on the right).]

Loiterstein sent me the following URL:


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

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