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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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  • Pascal

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    The French-accented Pascal was historically used for sons born at Easter, and can make an interesting choice for a boy with Gallic roots arriving around that holiday. Pascal has a number of notab... Read More 

  • Phillis

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  • Phoebe

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    A mythological, biblical, Shakepearean, and Salinger name, the warm and captivating Phoebe was given a boost in popularity by one of the Friends. In classical mythology, Phoebe is the by-name of ... Read More 

  • Pompey

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    Roman statesman and Caesar rival whose name, like other classical choices, was occasionally used for slaves. The Pompeo version could rise again.  Read More 

  • Sabina

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    Sabina is a sleek but neglected name (possibly due to The Rape of the Sabine Women) from an ancient Roman tribal name that's well worth consideration. The equally alluring Sabine is heard in France... Read More 

  • Sable

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    Soap opera name from the Dynasty days.  Read More 

  • Scipio

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    This surname of an ancient Roman invader of Africa is an intriguing, undiscovered option.  Read More 

  • Spencer

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    Spencer is a name that has everything: it's both distinguished sounding and accessible, dignified but Spencer Tracy-like friendly. Picked by several celebrities (a couple of times even for a girl)... Read More 

  • Sukey

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    Eighteenth-century nickname that still appears occasionally as an alternative to Suzy.  Read More 

  • Tamar

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    Tamar is a rich, strong Old Testament name sometimes given to girls born on the holiday of Sukkoth, as palm branches were used to make the roof of the sukkah. In the Bible, there are several Tamars... Read More 

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