The Use of the Terms “Negro” and “Black”

The Use of the Terms “Negro” and “Black”
to Include Persons of Native American Ancestry
in “Anglo” North America
Jack D. Forbes

In 1854 the California State Supreme Court sought to bar all nonCaucasians from equal citizenship and civil rights. The court stated:
The word “Black” may include all Negroes, but the term “N egro” does not include
all Black persons …. We are of the opinion that the words “White,” “Negro,”
“Mulatto” and “Black person,” whenever they occur in our constitution … must
be taken in their generic sense … that the words “Black person,” in the 14th
section must be taken as contra distinguished from White, and necessarily
includes all races other than the Caucasian. !
As convoluted as the quote may be, it tends to express a strong
tendency in the history of the United States, toward creating two
broad classes of people: white and non-white, citizen and non-citizen
(or semi-citizen).
The tendency to create a two-caste society often clashed with the
reality of a territory which included many different types of people, of
all colors and different degrees of intermixture of European, American,
African, and Asian. Native American people, whether of unmixed
ancestry or mixed with other stocks, were at times affected by the
tendency to create a purely white-black social system, especially when
living away from a reservation or the ancestral homeland.2
In the British slave colonies of North America along the Atlantic
coast, many persons of American ancestry were at times classified as
blacks, negroes, mulattoes, or people of color, and these terms were, of
course, used for people of African ancestry. The manner in which
Americans and part-Americans were sometimes classified as “mulattoes” and “people of color” from New England to South Carolina and
in the Spanish Empire are explored elsew here. 3 The purpose here is to
illustrate how the term “negro” has also been applied to people of
American descent.
Explorations in Ethnic Studies, Vol. 7, No. 2 (July, 1984)
The possibility that Native Americans were quite commonly called
“negroes” is very much supported by Portuguese usage. During the
colonial period Brazilian Indians were repeatedly referred to as
negroes or as “negros da terra” (“Negroes of the land”). A great many
examples from the sixteenth- and later centuries are cited by Georg
Friederici in his analysis of Portuguese sources. These do not have to
be repeated here, but suffice to say that it was so common that finally
in 1755 a royal decree had to be issued as follows:
Among the regrettable practices … which have resulted in the disparagement of
the Indians, one prime abuse is the unjustifiable and scandalous practice of
calling them negroes. Perhaps by so doing the intent was no other than to induce
in them the belief that by their origins they had been destined to be the slaves of
whites, as is generally conceded to bethe case of blacks from the coast of Africa …
The directors will not permit henceforth that anybody may refer to an Indian as a
negro, nor that they themselves may use this epithet among themselves, as is
currently the case.
This Portuguese usage is extremely significant, not only because
American or part-American slaves could be referred to as “negroes” in
early shipment records but also because it very much affects one’s
analysis of population statistics in colonial Brazil (where, in fact, the
categories of “negro” and “mulatto” must have often included
domesticated or enslaved Indians and mixed-bloods).
Insofar as the term “negro” became synonymous with slave or
a servile status, it lost any specific color reference and became a
general term of abuse (darker people preferring to be called preto as a
result). It is highly likely that the Spaniards also referred to slaves
generally as negros in the Caribbean and that the Dutch took over the
same general practice, since negro and neger were not Dutch words
and had no immediate equivalent except swart, donker and bruin. A
Dutch-French-Spanish dictionary of 1639 has the following entry for
Spanish “negro”: noir, sombre, obscur, offusque, brun (French),
swart, doncker, bruin (Dutch). Thus, Spanish “negro” could be
translated as “dark” or “brown” as well as “black” (swart). Undoubtedly this usage facilitated making reference to all slaves as
“negroes” or “negers” in the Dutch language. Moreover, it is significant that a Spaniard residing in Antwerp in the early seventeenthcentury (the preparer of the dictionary) saw “negro” as being translated in a number of ways in both French and Dutch.4
By the latter-half of the sixteenth century the English were referring
to the people of Africa as Ethiopians, Blackamoors, Negroes, and
Moors, somewhat interchangeably. “Negro” gradually came to be the
dominant term, especially after exhaustive contact with the Spanish
and the Portuguese.5 What is not clear is the extent to which the term
“negro” was consciously translated as “black.” The automatic association of “negro” with “black” color cannot be assumed since may
“Black” Africans are actually of medium or dark brown color.
In any case, another association gradually arose, and that was
between “negro” and “slave.” Early legislation commonly referred to
“negro and other slaves” or to “negro, mulatto, and Indian slaves.”
Over the years “negro” and “black” both became synonymous with
In 1702 an observer wrote that the wealth of Virginia consisted of
“slaves or negroes.” By 1806 Virginia judges ruled that a person who
was of a white appearance was to be presumed free but “in the case of a
person visibly appearing to be of the slave race, it is incumbent upon
him to make out his freedom.” In 1819 South Carolina judges stated
flatly; “The word ‘negroes’ has a fixed meaning (slaves).”6
What the English meant by the term “negro” when they first began
to use it is not clear. Certainly, it was not then synonymous with slave
as a great many persons so classified were free, both in England and
in Virginia. Did it mean an African, a “black” person, or any darkskinned individual? Today the term is not widely· employed in Britain,
although the word “black” is used to refer to people of various skin
colors from all of South Asia, the Middle East, the West Indies, and
Africa. Most Native Americans, if living in Britain today, would be
regarded as being “black,” especially if their ancestry were not known.
“Negro” was also used in a general way in the North American
colonies. Some examples illustrate the use of “negro” and “black” as
applied to people of American ancestry.
An example from the West Indies is especially illuminating. In 1764
William Young was sent to St. Vincent as a part of the British
occupation of that island. Living on St. Vincent were about 3,000
“Black Charaibs, or free negroes,” about one hundred “Red Charaibs
or Indians,” and some 4,000 French and their slaves, according to
Young. The British found it difficult to control the Caribs and wars
were fought with them in 1771-1772 and again during 1795-1796.
During the latter crisis Young wrote an extremely anti-Carib tract
designed to prove that the Caribs should be removed from St. Vincent;
they were eventually defeated and some 5,000 were shipped to an
island near the coast of Honduras.
Young was anxious to prove that the so-called “Black” Caribs were
not true aborigines but were in fact “N egro colonists, Free Negroes, or
Negro usurpers.” This was important to him because he wanted to
show they had no bonafide land-rights or aboriginal title.
For our purposes, the interesting point admitted by Young is that
the so-called “Blacks” or “N egroes” were occasionally of”tawney and
mixed complexion” because of American ancestry and that their
customs, personal names, and language were those of the native
Caribs. Still further, Young admitted that they had repeatedly
intermarried with American women. He consistently refers to them as
“Negroes,” nonetheless.
Young also relayed a great deal of hearsay information about how
the “Black” Caribs had originated, which is without foundation for
analysis here. The important point is this: that a people thoroughly
American in identity, culture, and language were called “black” and
“negro” solely because of beIng mixed with African ancestry.? This
tendency continues, incidentally, among white scholars who, even
today, refuse to accept the Caribs’ avowed feelings of “Indianness”
and continue to call them “Black.”8
In 1619 some twenty “negroes” were brought to Virginia. At least
eleven have names of Spanish or probably Spanish character. Later
they were joined by “negroes” and “mulattoes” with names such as
Antonio (several) and John Pedro. These Spanish-derived servants
could well have been of part-American ancestry; however, no evidence
is available except that they were largely secured from captured
Spanish vessels. 9
In 1676 one Gowin, “an Indian servant,” acquired his freedom in
Virginia. Two decades earlier Mihill Gowen, called “a negro,” also
acquired his freedom. It would appear that the “negro” was probably
father to the “Indian” in this case.10
In 1670 the population of the Virginia colony was said to be 40,000
including 2,000 “black slaves.” Evidence indicates that there could
not have been that many Africans there and also that there were a
great many American slaves or servants. Thus the total of “blacks”
must have included a good many Americans.ll
In 1698 three fugitive “negroes” were reported in North Carolina, of
whom one was an American. 12 Similarly, a list of”N egroes” imported
into Virginia, 1 710-1718, by sea includes at least sixty-nine “Indians,”
mostly from the Carolinas. Likewise, lists of “N egroes” brought into
New York from 1 715 to 1736 include many slaves of probable (or
stated) American ancestry from Campeche, Jamaica, Honduras, the
Carolinas, and Virginia.13
In the 1715-1717 period the Vestry Book of King Williams Parish,
Virginia, records one year “Robin an Indian” and two years later,
“Robin a negro.” 14 In a similar manner a 1691 list of “negro” slaves in
York County, Virginia, includes “Kate Indian” while a 1728 list of
“N egroes” at the “home house” of a Virginia planter in clues “Indian
Robin” (Robin, incidentally, is a common name for slaves of American ancestry). In 1 748 there was an advertisement in New York for a
“Negro man servant called Robbin, almost of the complexion of an
Indian … talks good English, can read and write, and plays on the
s In 1723 Virginia adopted a law depriving free “negroes,
mulattoes, and Indians” of certain basic civil rights. The act was
disallowed by British officials but in 1735 Lt. Governor Gooch
defended it by asserting that he wanted to make “a perpetual brand
upon free negroes and mulattoes by excluding them from that great
privilege of a Freeman.” He wanted to make the “free negroes sensible
that a distinction ought to be made between their offspring and the
descendants of an Englishman, with whom they never were to be
accounted equal.”16 Since the act applied to Native Americans and
half-Americans (“mulattoes”), Gooch’s language would seem to includethem under the general category of “free negroes and mulattoes.”
A welcome clarification of terminology was provided in 1719 by the
government of South Carolina when it decided: ” … and for preventing
all doubts and scruples that may arise what ought to be [taxed] on
mustees, mulattoes, etc., all such slaves as are not entirely Indian
shall be accounted as negroe.”17 The significance of this act is that all
later enumerations of “negro” and “Indian” slaves in South Carolina
have to be analyzed with the thought in mind that many “negroes”
were probably one-half or other fractions of American ancestry.
New Jersey was also an area where Americans and Africans
intermixed with considerable frequency. In 1 734 an advertisement
appeared for the recovery of “Wan (J uan?). He is halflndian and half
negro; … he plays the fiddle and speaks good English and his country
Indian.” Wan was not specifically called a “negro,” but a 1 747
advertisement reads:
Runaway on the 20th of September last, from Cohansie a very lusty negro fellow
named Sampson, aged about 53 years, and had some Indian blood in him … he
had with him a boy about 12 or 13 years of age named Sam, was born of an Indian
woman, and looks like an Indian, only his hair … they both talk Indian very well,
and it is likely they have dressed themselves in th� Indian dress and gone to
Similarly in a 1778 advertisement we read:
Was stolen from her mother, a negro girl, about 9 or 10 years of age, named
Dianah, her mother’s name is Cash, was married to an Indian named Lewis
Wollis, near six feet high, about 35 years of age. They have a male child with
them, between 3 and 4 years of age. Any person who takes up the said negroes and
Indian … shall have the above reward. ”
From these examples we can see that people of mixed AmericanAfrican ancestry could be called “negroes” in New Jersey. Cyrus
Bustill, a Philadelphia baker (“black”) born in 1732 at Burlington,
New Jersey, married a Delaware Indian woman. His son became a
Quaker and an anti-slavery leader and was known as a “negro. “19
In Canada in 1747 four “Negroes” and a “Panis” (American slave)
escaped from Montreal. A French writer referred to them simply as
“negroes. “20 In 1759 one Saunders, a runaway slave, was described in
South Carolina as a “Negro man … of the mustee breed. ” Mustee
meant either European-American or European-American-African.21
In 1775 authorities in South Carolina were ordered to apprehend
“John Swan, a reported free negro or mestizo man. “22
In the 1780s certain white Virginians began to agitate for the
termination of the Gingaskin Indian Reservation in Northampton
County. The reserve was described as an “asylum for free negroes”
and it was alleged that the Americans ” … have at length become
nearly extinct, there being at this time not more than 3 or 4 genuine
Indian at most … the place is a harbour and convenient asylum for an
idle set of free negroes. ” In 1812 it was argued that
the place is now inhabited by as many black men as Indians … the Indian
women have many of them married black men, and a majority probably, of the
inhabitants are blacks or have black·blood in them … the real Indians [are few].
The reserve was divided (allotted) in 1813 and by 1832 whites had
acquired most of it. In 1828 the Gingaskin descendants were described
as respectable “Negro landowners. “23
This episode reminds one of Young’s attack upon the Caribs of St.
Vincent in 1795 and also of more recent attempts to allot and acquire
Indian lands. A similar attack took place upon the PamunkeyMattaponi in 1843 (which failed) and against the Nottoway from 1830
to 1878 (which succeeded). By the 1840s at least two Nottoways were
registered as “free negroes. ” The heirs of one family were described in
1878 as “all being negroes and very poor. “24
Aside from Virginia, where persons descended from female
Americans imported after a certain date could obtain their freedom,
all slaves of American ancestry remained slaves throughout the entire
duration of slavery unless they were emancipated or ran away. At the
end of the eighteenth-century “Bob, a carpenter fellow, of a yellowish
complexion, mustee, has bushy hair … ” ran away. He was said to
speak “more proper than Negroes in general.”25
Other persons of American ancestry who were free also were called
“black” or “negro.” Paul Cuffe, the noted half-American, half-African
merchant was called, at various times, an Indian, “a blackman,” and
“this free and enlightened African”; he signed petitions with “Indian
men” and “all free Negroes and mulattoes.”26 Other examples of a
similar nature abound-one author writes that” … the Sampsons and
Gallees, property owners and school teachers, though predominantly
of Indian blood were leaders among the free Negroes of Petersburg,
Virginia, in 1860,27
Virginia tax-rolls and census records from the 1780s to 1850 have
numerous examples of people of Indian tribal identity being classified
as “free people of color” or as “mulattoes,” in fact, the practice was
almost universal; some were also classified as F.N. (free negro) or as
“B” (black) in various records. In certain counties (such as Southampton) in 1830, and in parts of Delaware, virtually all free nonwhites were categorized as “F.N.” although enumerated under the
“free people of color” column. These lists included people of the
Nanticoke and other tribal groups.28
Under certain conditions persons of African descent could be legally
classified as mem bers of an Indian tribe or as Indians. In a treaty with
the Creek Nation the commissioner of Indian Affairs noted in 1832:
… an Indian, whether offull or half blood, who has a female slave living with him
as his wife, is the head of a family and entitled to a reservation [of land] also …
free blacks who have been admitted as members of the Creek Nation, and are
regarded as such by the tribe, if they have families are entitled to reservations of
In the 1860s all persons of African ancestry who had been slaves were
granted, by treaty, citizenship in the “five civilized tribes” of Indian
Territory. The general trend, however, was to enroll the more visibly
part-African persons as “Freedmen” citizens and to restrict their
tribal status. When lands were allotted in the 1880s to the early 1900s
most such persons were not allowed to assert American ancestry and
were, therefore, denied future rights as “Indians.”29
During the Seminole wars a new term seems to have been coined,
that of “Indian-Negroes.” One source, General Wiley Thompson,
asserted in 1835 that “they are descended from the Seminoles, and are
connected by consanguinity.” Other writers referred to them as the
“hostile negroes and mulattoes in the Seminole nation” or simply,
“Indian negroes. “30 Few white writers seem to have continued the use
of “Indian· negro.” However, in the Euchee language mixed people of
that type were referred to as “Goshpi-tchala” or “Red-Black People.”31
In North Carolina many people of Lumbee Indian identity were
categorized, at times, as “negroes. ” In 1837 Charles Oxendine of
Robeson County was punished as “a free negro. ” In 1842 one of the
Braveboy family was called a “negro” while in 1857 a Chavers was
charged as “a free person of color” with carrying a shotgun. He was
not convicted because the act specified “free negroes” and he was
charged as a “free colored. ” The court stated that “Free persons of
color may be … persons colored by Indian blood … the indictment
cannot be sustained. “32
In a similar situation, some white men took away guns from the
Pamunkey people in Virginia in 1857. The governor had them
returned but stated: “if any become one fourth mixed with the negro
race then they may be treated as free negroes or mulattoes” (Virginia
at this time defined a “mulatto” as one-fourth or more African).33
In Louisiana in 1856 the “Black Code” was said to refer to offenses
involving “slaves, Indians, and free persons of color. “34 Many narratives of ex-slaves, recorded in the 1830s, reveal Indian ancestry. One
such person, called an Indian, was Uncle Moble Hopsan of Virginia.
He says: “et come time tuh marry” and he married a black woman.
“Dat mak me black, ah’ ‘spose. “35 In 1871 a white writer of Maryland
In [Dorchester] county at Indian Creek, some of the last Indians ofthe peninsula
struck their wigwams towards the close of the last century, and there are now no
full-blooded aborigines on the E astern Shore, although many of the free-born
negroes show Indian traces.’·
Quite commonly, however, some of the “free-born negroes” of the
Eastern Shore continued to identify and survive as Native People. The
whites often tried to deny their Indianness, as in 1856 when a marker
was erected to commemorate a woman who had testified that the
Nanticoke people of Delaware had African ancestry. The Indians
were referred to on the marker as “arrogant negroes that assumed to
be what they were not. “37
During the eighteenth-century most persons of mixed race, especially
if free, were classified as “mulattoes, mustees, or persons of color.” The
term “negro” was perhaps less likely to be used for such people, except
as noted in the examples above. This usage continued in some statessuch as the Carolinas and Virginia-well into the nineteenth-century.
For example, the jurists of South Carolina noted in 1852: “It is not
according to the use of language in this region to speak of one
altogether black as a person of color. The phrase is almost exclusively
applied to one of mixed blood and color.”38 A change took place in such
states as Indiana (1817), Kentucky (1852), and elsewhere (1850s – early
1900s) as the term “negro” came to encompass most persons of partAfrican descent. 39
This change may not have affected people of solely African and
American descent, especially if the African ancestry predominated.
Since many (but not all) Native Americans were “brown” or darkcolored without African ancestry, their descendants when mixed only
with African blood would very likely be seen as “negroes” by most
Europeans (especially in North America where special terms for such
persons-such as Zambo, Grifo, Lobo, Cafuso, Cabra, and Cabore
never became current).40
The United States census also tended to expand the use of the terms
“black” or “negro.” In 1890 “black” was to be used for all persons
having three-fourths or more “black blood.” In 1910 “black” was
supposed to be applied only to “full-blooded negroes” while the matter
of who was an Indian was left to the enumerator. The term “mulatto”
was to be used for “all other persons having some proportion or
perceptible trace of Negro blood.” It is certain that large numbers of
Americans or part-Americans were classified as negro or mulatto
under these rules. For example, of the Mattaponi only one person was
counted as “Indian” by the census out of a reservation population of at
least forty persons. Similarly, the Poosepatuck of Long Island had
only one person counted as “Indian,” doubtless because the rest were
enumerated as negroes or mulattoes.
The 1910 census counted “2,255 negroes” who were part-Indian and
were enrolled members of tribes. Another group of 1,793 tribal
members were of mixed European, African and American ancestry.
Thus only slightly more than 3,000 persons who were part-African
were counted with the Indian population as compared with the
hundreds of thousands who were doubtless counted as “negro” or
“mulatto” because of living away from a federally-recognized
reservation area.
In 1930 a person of mixed Indian and Negro blood ” … shall be
returned as a Negro unless the Indian blood predominates and the
status as an Indian is generally accepted in the community.” By 1940
all African-American hybrids were to be counted as “negroes” unless
the Indian ancestry “very definitely predominates and he is Unt19
versally accepted … as an Indian. “41
Even “pure-blood” Indians could be counted as “blacks” as in
Nevada in 1880 when the census enumerator categorized ninety
members of the Duckwater Shoshone Tribe in that manner. In the
state of Delaware more recent decades found that “if a person said he
was an Indian, he was recorded as either black or white depending
upon his appearance. ” The 1980 census was so arranged that any
American-African mixed-blood who checked both “black” and
“Indian” boxes was counted solely as “black. ”
In summary, it seems clear that many persons of N ative American
ancestry, in whole or part, have been at times classified as “negroes”
or “blacks. ” This is a matter of considerable significance for the
scholar seeking to understand the actual ethnic or racial identity of
non-w hite persons in the North American British colonies and in the
United States over the centuries.
Earlier studies have shown the significance of the terms “mulatto,
mustee, sambo (zambo), and colored,” as indicating persons of
American (or possible part-American) ancestry.43 Collectively, these
studies served to show the probability of a much greater degree of
intermixture between Africans and Native Americans than has
hitherto been widely acknowledged.
But, of course, it might be argued that this is “old hat,” especially to
people in the Afroamerican community who have long been aware of
extensive Indian ancestry and who have, at least since the Civil War,
self-consciously utilized the terms “negro” or “black” (and, of course,
“colored”) to encompass people of mixed Native American and
African descent. Individuals such as Ann Plato, Paul Cuffe, Crispus
Attucks, Hiram Revels, and many others have long been referred to as
“negroes” in spite of having perhaps at least as much Native
American as African ancestry-and even when living in Indian
communities, as was the case with Attucks and Cuffe.
From the scholarly perspective, the “logic” of white racism (which
has tended to classify people in very arbitrary ways) is neither the
logic of genetics nor of bonafide ethnicity. The mixture of African and
American does not make a person “black” or “negro” anymore than it
makes one automatically “Indian. ” Ethnic scholars must aver that it
is both pernicious and dangerous to read into the evidence, and to
affirm for earlier times, the pronouncements of a dominant social
caste. Their myths, their prejudices, and their systems of classification
and nomenclature must all be subjected to critical and empirical
‘The People v. Hall, October 1 , 1854 in Robert Heizer and Alan J. Almquist, eds. The Other
Californians. (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1971) 232-233.
21 use the term ” American” to refer to the native American race during the colonial period
to avoid confusion with other people called “Indians.” Likewise, whites will be called
“Europeans” and black Africans will be “Africans.”
3See Jack D. Forbes. “The Evolution of the Term Mulatto: A C hapter in Black-Native
American Relations.” Journal of Ethnic Studies. Vol. 10, No. 2 (Summer, 1 982) 45-66.
“Mulattoes and People of Color in Anglo North America: Implications for Black-Indian
Relations.” Unpublished Mss. and “Mustees, H alf-Breeds and Zambos in Anglo-North
America.” The American Indian Quarterly. Vol. 7, No. 1 (1983) 57-83.
‘Georg Friederici. Amerikanistisches Wortenbuch. ( Hamburg: De Gruyter, 1947) 446-447;
“Directorio que se deve observar nas Povoacaens dos I ndios do Para , Maranhao” as cited
by A.J.R. Russell-Wood. The Black Man in Slavery and Freedom in Colonial Brazil.
(London: MacMillan, 1982) 42-43; and Juan Francisco Rodrigues (reputed author). Den
Grooten Dictionaris en Schat van Drij Talen. (Antwerp: Trognesius, 1639) ” negro.”
5Almon W. Lauber. Indian Slavery in Colonial Times Within the Present Limits of the
United States. (N ew York: AMS Press, Inc., 1913) 311; John S. Bassett, ed. The Writings of
Colonial William Byrd. (New York: Doubleday, 1901) 8-9; John Codman Hurd, ed. The Law
of Freedom and Bondage in the United States. Vol. 2 (N ew York: Negro Universities Press,
1 968) 95; The Oxford English Dictionary. (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1933) “Negro.”
6Elizabeth Donnan. Documents Illustrative of the History of the Slave Trade. Vol. 4
(Washington, DC: Carnegie, 1 932) 68; James Hugo Johnston. Race Relations in Virginia
and Miscegenation in the South 1 776-1 860. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press.
1 970) 194; Exparte Leland is cited in Helen T. C atterall. Judicial Cases Concerning
America and the Negro. Vol. 2 (Washington, DC: Carnegie, 1929) 311.
‘William Young. An Account of the Black Charaibs. (London: C ass, 1971) 98, 13-14, 18, 23,
27, 30, 42.
“See, for example, N ancy L. Solien. “West Indian Characteristics of the Black C arib.”
Peoples and Cultures of the Caribbean. Michael M. Horowitz, ed. (New York: National
History Press, 1971) 1 33ff; see also: D avid Lowenthal. West Indian Societies. (London:
Oxford University Press, 1972) 1 78-186.
·Helen T. C atterall. Judicial Cases Concerning American and the Negro. Vol. 1
(Washington, DC: Carnegie, 1 929) 55-56, 60.
,oIbid., 58, 78.
“John Codman Hurd, ed. The Law of Freedom and Bondage in the United States. Vol. 1
(New York: Negro Universities Press, 1 968) 233m; C atterall, Vol. 1, 63; Wesley Frank
Craven. White, Red and Black: The Seventeenth Century Virginian. (Charlottesville:
University of Virginia Press, 1971) 98.
12Mattie Emma E dwards Parker, ed. North Carolina Higher Court Records, 1 697-1 701.
(Raleigh: Department of Archives and History, 1971) 528.
“Elizabeth Donnan. Documents Illustrative of the History of I he Slave Trade. Vol. 3
(Washington, DC: Carnegie, 1932) 463, 466, 470, 477, 499-500; Vol. 4, 1 75-179.
14Vestry Book of King William P arish. Virginia Magazine of History and Biography. Vol.
XII (New York: Kraus Reprint Corporation, 1 968; originally published by Virginia
Historical Society, Richmond, Virginia, 1 905) 23, 26.
‘5J. Leitch Wright. The Only Land They Knew: The Tragic Story of the Indians of the Old
South. (New York: Free Press, 1 981) 252; “Eighteenth-Century Slave Advertisements.”
Journal of Negro History. Vol. 1, No. 2 (April, 1915) 176.
16Wilbert E. Moore. “Slave Law and the Social Structure.” Journal of Negro History. Vol.
26, No. 2 (April, 1941) 182-183.
17Peter H. Wood. Black Majority: Negroes in Colonial South Carolina. (New York: Knopf,
1974) 99m.
1 8J ames Hugo Johnston. Race Relations in Virginia and Miscegenation in the South
1 776-1860. (Amherst: University of Massachusetts Press, 1970) 275m, 276.
19Anna Bustill Smith. “The Bustill Family.” Journal of Negro History. Vol. 10, No. 4
(October, 1925) 638-644.
2°A. Judd Northrup. Slavery in New York: Historical Sketch. (New York State Library
Bulletin, History #4, 1900) 306.
21J. Leitch Wright. The Only Land They Knew: The Tragic Story of the Indians of the Old
South. (New York: Free Press, 1981) 256. See also: Jack D. Forbes. “Mustees, H alf-Breeds
and Z ambos in Anglo North America: Aspects of Black-Indian Relations.” The American
Indian Quarterly. Vol. 7, No. 1 (1983) 57-83.
22William A. Craigie and James R. Hulbert. A Dictionary of American English. Vol. 3
(Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1940) 1512.
23J ohnston, 280; Helen C. Roundtree_ “The Indians of Virginia: A Third Race in a Biracial
State.” Mss. in Virginia State Library Indian File, 1976.
24Roundtree, 8, 10.
25″Eighteenth-Century Slave Advertisements.” Journal of Negro History. Vol. 1, No. 2
(April, 1915) 1 72.
26H.N. Sherwood. “Paul Cuffe.” Journal of Negro History. Vol. 8, No. 2 (April, 1923) 153,
163, 164, 165, 172.
27Luther P_ Jackson. “Free Negroes of Petersburg, Virginia.” Journal of Negro History.
Vol. 12, No. 3 (July, 1927) 368, 380-38l.
28See discussions of such records in Jack D_ Forbes. “Mulattoes and People of Color in
Anglo North America: Implications for Black-Indian Relations.”Unpublished Mss.
29J ohnston, 285.
30Kenneth W. Porter. “Florida Slaves and Free Negroes in the Seminole War, 1835-1842_”
Journal of Negro History. Vol. 28, No. 4 (October, 1943) 397; Johnston, 230_
31Gunter Wagner. Yuchi Tales. (New York: G.E. Stechert and Co., 1931) 352-353.
02C atterall, Vol. 2, 79, 209, 38l.
33Helen C_ Roundtree. “The Indians of Virginia: A Third Race in a Biracial State_” Mss. in
Virginia State Library Indian File, 1 976, 13_
34John C odman H urd, ed. The Law of Freedom and Bondage in the United States. Vol. 2
(New York: Negro Universities Press, 1968) 165.
35J. Leitch Wright. The Only L and They Knew: The Tragic Story of the Indians of the Old
South. (New York: Free Press, 1981) 259.
36George Chamberlain. “African and American.” Science. Vol. 17 (February, 1891) 87_
37C_A_ Weslager_ Delaware’s Forgotten Folk. (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania
Press, 1943) 38.
38Catterall, Vol. 2, 43l.
39Catterall, Vol. 1 , 231, Vol. 11, 132, 1 76; Hurd, Vol. 11, 17-19, 128; Edward Byron Reuther.
Race Mixture_ (New York: McGraw-Hill, 1931) 96-97.
‘OJ ack D. Forbes. “Mustees, Half-Breeds and Zambos in Anglo North America: Aspects of
Black-Indian Relations.” The A merican Indian Quarterly. Vol. 7, No. 1 (1983) 57-83; See
also, William Bartram. Travels Through North and South Carolina, Georgia, East and
West Florida. (Savannah: Beehive Press, 1973) 481-488.
“Negro Populations in the United States, 1 790- 1915. (Washington, DC: Bureau of the
Census, 1917) 207; Felix Cohen. Handbook of Federal Indian Law. (Washington, DC:
Government Printing Office, 1942) 2, 2m; Arthur C. Parker. “The Status and Progress of
Indians as Shown by the Thirteenth Census.” The Quarterly Journal of the Society of
A merican Indians. Vol. 3, No. 3 (July-September, 1915) 188-190; James Mooney. “The
Powhatan Confederacy: Past and Present.” The American A nthropologist. New Series.
Vol. 9, No. 1 (January-March, 1907) 148.
“Elmer Rusco. Good Time Coming? Black Nevadans in the 19th Century. (Westport:
Greenwood Press, 1975) 217-219; Weslager, 18.
‘3Jack D. Forbes. ” Mustees, Half-Breeds and Zambos in Anglo-North America.” The
A merican Indian Quarterly. Vol. 7, No. 1 (1983) 57-83.
The article is well written and researched_ The author has searched
the literature pertaining to blacks and Indians and found that there
are many cases of confused and deliberate distortions. These distortions had and have a profound impact on the way we behave.
Many examples of the use of overgeneralization are given. The
reasons for this behavior are complex and varied. As an example we
find the white Virginians agitating for the termination of the
Gingaskin Indian Reservation in Northampton County. Forbes cites
the reason for this agitation as the area was an “asylum for free
negroes ” and the presence of Indians was small if any. The date for
this event is given as 1780.
In the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries immigrants coming into
the United States were often confused by the many languages that
were spoken at the port of entry into this “new” land. The Spanish, for
example, used Negro to refer to a black man and Negra to refer to a
black woman. Mulatto had many meanings. Among these were mule
(mulatto) or a person of mixed ancestry) part black and part white.
To associate word usage with racism is quite proper, but it is not
always so. There is no inflexible relationship between a stereotype
and behavior.
Indian children of high school age at a funeral of an Indian
attended by a black man used the words Nigger, Gigolo, and so forth,

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