return of "colored"

Joel S. Berson Berson at ATT.NET
Thu Mar 29 15:27:10 UTC 2012

At 3/29/2012 10:28 AM, Laurence Horn wrote:
>As for "person of color", I was surprised to see it invoked in a
>letter written (possibly by John Quincy Adams, I forget) on view in
>a museum exhibition on the Amistad case, from 1840 or earlier.

Ngram shows a dramatic, abrupt increase in "person of color" between
about 1828 and 1835, and a general trend upward until about
1865.  (How steep it appears depends on the time scale you use.)

What do the books on the use of the various terms (by both whites and
blacks) say about this period?  I've used:

Rael, Patrick. Black Identity & Black Protest in the Antebellum
North. Chapel Hill: The University of North Carolina Press, 2002.
Rael, Patrick. "Introduction." In African-American Activism before
the Civil War: The Freedom Struggle in the Antebellum North, ed.
Patrick Rael (New York: Routeledge, 2008), 1--38.


The American Dialect Society -

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