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Early African-American Names

Early American slave rolls are filled with classical and biblical names designed to show off the slave-owners' education and not normally used for whites; variations of African day names and place-names; along with other unusual names more closely identified over the years with black than white American culture. Some of the most notable:
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  • Dorinda

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    Cinderella stepsister type Victorian-valentine name.  Read More 

  • Easter

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    Easter has been used as a name for several hundred years, as part of the day-naming tradition; now, this rarely heard holiday celebration name would make a novel choice for a springtime baby. Bac... Read More 

  • Flavia

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    An ancient Roman clan name, Flavia is one choice that's unusual but historic.  Read More 

  • Flora

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    Flora, the name of the Roman goddess of flowers and spring, who enjoyed eternal youth, is one of the gently old-fashioned girls' flower names we think is due for a comeback--alongside cousins Cora ... Read More 

  • Hagar

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    Hagar is an Old Testament name as horrible as the eponymous comic strip character.  Read More 

  • Hector

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    Previously used primarily by Latino families, this name of the great hero of the Trojan War as related in Homer's Iliad is beginning to be considered more seriously by others seeking noble ancient ... Read More 

  • Ishmael

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    Ishmael is most familiar through "Call me Ishmael," the opening line spoken by the youthful narrator of Moby-Dick . Few American parents have followed that advice, though the Spanish and Arabic sp... Read More 

  • Jamaica

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    Among the least gimmicky, most appealing and colorful of all the names found in the atlas, Jamaica almost sings out the exotic rhythms of the West Indies. Part of the Greater Antilles in the Carib... Read More 

  • Jemima

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    Jemima, the name of a strong and beautiful Biblical daughter of Job, has long been among the chicest choices of aristocratic Brits. Unfortunately, Jemima is still somewhat linked in this country to... Read More 

  • Jonah

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    Jonah, the name of the Old Testament prophet who was swallowed by the whale, only to emerge unharmed three days later, is increasingly appreciated by parents looking for a biblical name less common... Read More 

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