center african american studies Duke University
Recordings from the African American Church Music Series
Before the independence of the until the abolition of slavery in 1865, an African-American slave was commonly known as a . was the legal status in the territory of an African-American person who was not a slave. The term later also began to be used until the second quarter of the 20th century, when it was considered outmoded and generally gave way again to the exclusive use of . By the 1940s, the term was commonly capitalized (); but by the mid-1960s, it was considered disparaging. By the end of the 20th century, had come to be considered inappropriate and was rarely used and perceived as a . The term is rarely used by younger black people, but remained in use by many older African Americans who had grown up with the term, particularly in the southern U.S. The term remains in use in some contexts, such as the , an American philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 private historically black colleges and universities, as well as in where Spanish and Portuguese are spoken. Pronounced slightly differently, it is the word for the color , and is rarely perceived as a pejorative.
I. The Progressive Movement and African Americans
Former Secretary of State (who was famously mistaken for a "recent American immigrant" by French President ), said "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that." She has also rejected an immigrant designation for African Americans and instead prefers the term or to denote the African and European U.S. founding populations.