Black History Names: Cinema greats– Canada, Cicely and Rex

In the past we’ve commemorated Black History Month by celebrating the names of great figures in history and the civil rights struggle. This year we salute some of the notable thespians, some now sadly forgotten, who have contributed so much to the cultural fabric of this country—and of course paying particular attention to their distinctive names.


Hattie McDaniel is well remembered for her Oscar-winning Mammy role in Gone With the Wind—the first African American to earn an Academy Award. Hattie is one of the vintage nickname names making a comeback, especially after Tori Spelling and Dean McDermott chose it for their third child.

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9 Responses to “Black History Names: Cinema greats– Canada, Cicely and Rex”

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KateMP91 Says:

February 7th, 2014 at 1:31 am

I love Ruby and Sidney.

To me, Sidney is a boy name, due to a man I know as Papa Sid 🙂

Ruby is a name I always come back to, but due to a common circumstance, it is unusable.

loislane1222 Says:

February 7th, 2014 at 8:02 am

Outstanding list! I know a family that named their daughter Mavis to honor Mavis Staples. I would never have believed it, but Mavis is absolutely adorable on their now 2-year-old daughter. I used to think of Mavis as terribly outdated — I don’t any more!

CsprsSassyHrly Says:

February 7th, 2014 at 9:47 am

I really like some of these names. Nina, Ruby and Forest are favorites. I prefer the Spanish version of Rex (Rey). We’ve had dogs named Rex so when I hear that name I think of dogs. I’m LOVING Morgan for a boy right now. I remember it being popular when I was growing up but I don’t hear it anywhere anymore and I actually miss it. I’m actually surprised Ethel is coming back but I have to admit that I kind of like it. I used to think of Ethel Mertz when I heard it but I think I can shake that image.

shelly68 Says:

February 7th, 2014 at 10:22 am

I was just nanny to two girls named Zaria and De-lay-sha. Not sure how it’s spelled, except I know there’s a j in there. Made up as most are.

Nono Says:

February 7th, 2014 at 12:58 pm

“Before Sidney, as Sydney, was coopted by the girls in the 1990s, it was a solid—if declining–male name with aristocratic British roots, a Top 100 name until 1920. This particular patient is showing no signs of recovery.”

No mention of the fact that Sidney Poitier named his own daughter, who was born in 1973, Sydney? I know that “boys names going to the girls” is sort of a pet topic/cardinal sin on this site, but I actually think the tone there is a bit inappropriate, given that Sidney thought it was a good name to give his own daughter.

Not that it really matters, but I actually have more than one female ancestor born in the 1600s named Sidney, that spelling. I’m guessing it was used as a variant of Sidonie/Sidony.

Great job overall, though! I think this is a great list.

ruolan Says:

February 8th, 2014 at 3:24 am

This was a great read! So many wonderful names and namesakes!

shelly68– I don’t think your last comment was necessary at all.

rainierloner Says:

February 9th, 2014 at 2:07 pm

@shelly68- Well, that was racist. Please keep your unnecessary comments to yourself.

I actually quite like these names – Forest will be added to my boys list! I also enjoy Ruby, Nina, Sidney, and Mavis.

tori101 Says:

February 9th, 2014 at 3:03 pm

Such an interesting!

Loving so many of these choices especially Nina reminds me of a ballerina name.

LuMary Says:

February 10th, 2014 at 8:29 am

Sojourner (For Sojourner Truth)
Araminta (Harriet Tubman)

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