Why Do We Say “African American”?


From Origin Of Everything.

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Language is constantly changing and ethnonyms are no exception. From "Negro" to "Colored" and "African American" to "Black," the people and cultures of African origin living in the United States have had many names. Today Danielle looks at the etymology and reclamation surrounding Black history and identity.

Special thanks to our Historian Harry Brisson and Archivists Rachel Brice, Mathilda Murray, and Jafra D. Thomas on Patreon! Join them at https://www.patreon.com/originofeverything

Created and Hosted by Danielle Bainbridge
Produced by Complexly for PBS Digital Studios

If you liked this episode, you’d love Say It Loud, a series hosted by Evelyn from the Internets and Hallease that celebrates Black culture, context, and history. Check out their episode "Are you ‘Black’ or ‘African American?’": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WDJsC_Fwcvk

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Origin of Everything is a show about the undertold histories and cultural dialogues that make up our collective story. From the food we eat, to the trivia and fun facts we can’t seem to get out of our heads, to the social issues we can’t stop debating, everything around us has a history. Origin of Everything is here to explore it all. We like to think that no topic is too small or too challenging to get started.

Works Cited:

The New York Times Company. 2020. Uppercasing ‘Black’ | The New York Times Company.
Quander, M. and Froneberger, L., 2020. Black Vs. African-American: The Complex Conversation Black Americans Are Having About Identity #Fortheculture.
Bionews.org.uk. 2020. Africa Is Most Genetically Diverse Continent, DNA Study Shows – Bionews.
Field Museum. 2020. Cultures Of Africa: Research.
Sahistory.org.za. 2020. Africa: What’S In A Name? | South African History Online.
Encyclopedia.com. 2020. Divide And Rule: The Legacy Of Roman Imperialism | Encyclopedia.Com.
Keywords.nyupress.org. 2020. Black | Keywords For American Cultural Studies, Second Edition.
Z., C., 2020. “Black: A Word Of Difficult History” | "Black" Tracking, Looking Forward.
Www2.ccsu.edu. 2020. Toward A Philosophy Of Race: W.E.B Du Bois And Critical Race – Vol 1,
Number 2, Special Edition Winter/Spring 2020 – African American Studies Journal – CCSU Newsletter.
"Books Noted". Negro Digest: 52. June 1964.
New Leadership into the 21St Century By Yahya ibn Shabazz
SNCC Digital Gateway. 2020. Stokely Carmichael – SNCC Digital Gateway.
Encyclopedia Britannica. 2020. Black Panther Party | History, Ideology, & Facts.
Ben L. Martin. Political Science Quarterly. Vol. 106, No. 1 (Spring, 1991), pp. 83-107
Nytimes.com. 2020. A Debate Over Identity And Race Asks, Are African-Americans ‘Black’ Or ‘Black’?.
McWhorter, J., 2020. Is ‘Colored People’ A Slur?.

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