Friday, January 05, 2007

History of African-American names

Continuing my fascination with African-American naming trends, I found this site about a brief history of African American names:

Finding Our History: African American Names.

Creating new names out of old names has been a long-standing tradition in African American culture. Long before there were LaTanyas, Donnelles and Andraes, there were Samanthas (Sam + -antha bet you didn't know this was a 200-year-old African American creation!), Authorine (the first African American student at a white university in Alabama), Araminta (Harriet Tubman's first name at birth), & Cabell (Cab Calloway's birth name).

Another site about the importance of names in both African American and African culture:

Slavery in America: African American Names

2 comments:

Banshee said...

Araminta is a seventeenth-century English name. Its first known appearance was in 1695, in Sir John Vanbruch's book The Confederacy.

Cleveland Kent Evans said...

Cabell is an English surname common in Virginia; James Branch Cabell was a famous 19th-century novelist.

I'm also skeptical about Samantha being an African-American invention. The oldest examples I have seen so far are from White families in colonial New England.