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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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  • Juba

    Gender: F Rate:

    Juba, a strong and resonant unisex name, belonged to an ancient African king, is a city and river name, and is traditionally given to Ashanti (of Ghana) girls born on Monday.  Read More 

  • Jupiter

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    Jupiter's partner Juno has entered the mainstream, so it's possible that her divine mate could follow. The name of the supreme Roman deity and the largest planet has until recently had either too h... Read More 

  • Keziah

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    Keziah, also spelled Kezia, is an Old Testament name — she was one of the three daughters of Job, about whom it was said that there were no women all the land who were so fair as Job's daughters — ... Read More 

  • London

    Gender: M Rate:

    Popular for both sexes, replacing Paris, though as London rises into the Top 100 for girls, it's dipping a bit for boys. Read More 

  • Lucinda

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    Lucinda, an elaboration of Lucia created by Cervantes for his 1605 novel Don Quixote , is a pleasingly pretty alternative to Lucy. It was subsequently used by Moliere in his play The Doctor in Spit... Read More 

  • Lysander

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    Lysander is a distinctive Greek name that could be thought of as a more creative cousin of Alexander. In ancient history, Lysander was the name of an esteemed Spartan naval commander and his litera... Read More 

  • March

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    Along with August, March is one of the few month names available to boys; this brisk single-syllable name might be worth considering as either a first or middle option. As a surname, it brings warm... Read More 

  • Minerva

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    Minerva is the long-neglected name of the Roman goddess of wisdom and invention, the arts and martial strength--which might appeal to adventurous feminist parents. Minerva Pott is a character in D... Read More 

  • Moses

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    Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin's choice of this white-bearded Old Testament name helped bring it into the modern age, along with brethren Elijah, Isaiah, and Isaac. User-friendly nicknames includ... Read More 

  • Nero

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    The association with the infamous Nero, the fiddling Roman emperor, would be unavoidable. But there was also the detective Nero Wolfe, hero of many mystery stories. Nero was born Lucius Domitius A... Read More 

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