when did "Black" start replacing....

Benjamin Zimmer bgzimmer at BABEL.LING.UPENN.EDU
Thu May 25 16:00:56 UTC 2006

On 5/25/06, Jonathan Lighter <wuxxmupp2000 at yahoo.com> wrote:
> I recall Stokely Carmichael and/or H. Rap Brown explicitily insisting on
> the exclusive use of _Black_ (capitalized) for the reason that _Negro_
> "meant" _nigger_.  These statements received wide media coverage.
> The year was either 1967 or 1969, the latter I think. Before that, except
> for the occasional neutral use in anthropology (e.g., "black Africans")
> whites used _black_ chiefly as a deliberate insult.

The documentary "James Brown: Soul Survivor" (aired on the PBS series
"American Masters" a few years ago) makes the case that the real
turning point for the mainstreaming of the word "black" was the
success of the single "Say It Loud - I'm Black And I'm Proud (Part
1)," which cracked the top ten of Billboard's pop charts in the fall
of 1968.

--Ben Zimmer

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

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