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Negro: A racial classification that spawned a number of faux synonyms, every one of which was, and is, infused with the political climate of the time. Billy Birch & Ben Cotton, the headliners of "The Canterbury Minstrels,” advertised themselves as "the two greatest delineators of the contraband race in the world..."  New York Herald, February 24, 1862.

At the time, enslaved blacks who had fled into the Northern states were legally defined as contraband, subject to return to their owners, extending a conceptual understanding of some human beings as property. 

 

Negro minstrel: Used interchangeably with darkey comedian and Ethiopian minstrel; rare: wandering corkonians.

“…the white minstrel show…  iconized a particular representation of the ‘Negro’, which ultimately paved the way for black anti-minstrel attitudes at the end of the nineteenth century.  The minstrel show existed in two guises:  the-white-in-blackface, and the black-in-blackface.  The form and content of the minstrel shows changed over time, as well as audience perception of the two different types of performance. The black minstrel show has come to be regarded as a ‘reclaiming’ of slave dance and performance. It differs from white minstrelsy in that it gave theatrical form to ‘signifyin' on white minstrelsy in the manner in which slaves practiced ‘signifyin' on whites in real life. Lisa M. Anderson, “From Blackface to ‘Genuine Negroes’:  Nineteenth-Century Minstrelsy and the Icon of the ‘Negro’, Theatre Research International, Spring, 1996.

 

Negroism:  An ideology (probably peaking at the outset of the Civil War) addressing race relations - particularly black and white relations - that applied pseudo scientific methodologies to elevate the centrality of negroes in the failed conditions of society. This belief system was underwritten by medical doctors who traced the racial inferiority of blacks to the deleterious effects of the  presence of blacks, especially as emancipated, in a state of free negroism. This ideology was commonly distributed in "Anti-Abolition" tracts. A second meaning of the term appeared after the Civil War. This sense embraced a broad understanding of negro behaviour, but took special interest in spoken dialect and vocabulary.  This etymological orientation of negroism dovetailed with white pride in a unique, authentically native, American art form (minstrelsy) characterized by imitations of black speech. In many respects the motives of an aesthetic view of negroism replaced the thwarted aims of the Anti-Abolitionists. 

 

Negrophobist:  An individual who has embraced negrophobia.

"They have adopted a practice at Leavenworth that will set hard on the Negrophobists.  Every traitor and traitor sympathizer who is now arrested is taken to the camp of the colored regiment, near that city, and placed under a guard of negroes."  White Cloud Kansas Chief, August 21, 1862.

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