This question is specifically for Americans. Have you ever noticed and thought about the...
segregation of black and white Americans in terms of names? For example blacks tend to have last names like: Green, Thomas, Washington, Jefferson, etc., to a very high degree. I would say 99 out of 100 times, you hear the last name of Washington (ironinc being a fine presidential name) and it is an African-American who comes walking up? What do you think is the reason for this stark segregation of black and white Americans by name? Don't you find this fascinating?
That is interesting. I'm not sure how this happened. In Spanish speaking countries there are a lot of black people who fine last names belonging to very wealthy aristocratic Spanish families. That is because the Spanish lords would give their slaves their own last names. I wonder now if the same thing occurred here in North America.
Yes, klarawieck, the same thing indeed happened here in North America. Black slaves were given the surnames of their owners. But I'm wondering why we don't continue to also, regularly, see white Americans with names like Washington, Jefferson -- I"m saying it seems to have been a switch over, a very strange switch over, such that to find whites with names like those I mentioned is a rarity. I'm wondering if something else occurred.
I voted you answer up by the way. It is a good one. Thanks.
I have definitely noticed this. I'd have to say that maybe it's because many of those that were slave owners in the south came to the US in the earliest times. Those early settlers were predominantly English so they had names like Washington, Green, and Jefferson. It wasn't until the times during or after the Civil War that we saw masses of immigrants from countries like Poland, Ireland, etc. Thus, there were probably very few slave owners with last names like Nowak and Kowalski. Since most slaves carried their owners names, we see very few African Americans with last names like Nowak and Kowalski.
Was the word "segregation" really necessary? Seems like a deliberate effort to stir up guilt in white people.
As to where blacks got their last names, I thought that was common knowledge by the time someone was a teenager in America.
Very bizarre question...
This is a huge generalization.
Depending on the part of the country you are from, folks with African backgrounds who are first or second generation immigrants have varying last names.
Many American Indians have last names such as these, as well, and there are many black American Indians.
My understanding is that slaves did not adopt last names until they were freed. So when they chose last names, they often adopted those of famous Americans. So those names are probably common for those who have ancestry in the United States going back for several generations. For those whose families came more recently, this will not be as true.
Also, large numbers of Americans with European ancestry descend from those who came from 1870-1920, with an increasing number coming from Southern and Eastern Europe. These people with not, therefore, have typical British last names.
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