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Washington: the 'blackest name' in America
AP/Yahoo ^ | Feb 21 2011 | Jesse Washington

Posted on 02/21/2011 6:01:03 PM PST by Germanicus Cretorian

George Washington's name is inseparable from America, and not only from the nation's history. It identifies countless streets, buildings, mountains, bridges, monuments, cities — and people.

In a puzzling twist, most of these people are black. The 2000 U.S. Census counted 163,036 people with the surname Washington. Ninety percent of them were African-American, a far higher black percentage than for any other common name.

The story of how Washington became the "blackest name" begins with slavery and takes a sharp turn after the Civil War, when all blacks were allowed the dignity of a surname.

Even before Emancipation, many enslaved black people chose their own surnames to establish their identities. Afterward, some historians theorize, large numbers of blacks chose the name Washington in the process of asserting their freedom.

Today there are black Washingtons, like this writer, who are often identified as African-American by people they have never met. There are white Washingtons who are sometimes misidentified and have felt discrimination. There are Washingtons of both races who view the name as a special — if complicated — gift.

And there remains the presence of George, born 279 years ago on Feb. 22, whose complex relationship with slavery echoes in the blackness of his name today.

(Excerpt) Read more at news.yahoo.com ...


TOPICS: Culture/Society
KEYWORDS: firstinpeace; firstinwar; georgewashington; presidentsday; thegeneral; washington

1 posted on 02/21/2011 6:01:05 PM PST by Germanicus Cretorian
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Comment #2 Removed by Moderator

To: Germanicus Cretorian
Afterward, some historians theorize, large numbers of blacks chose the name Washington in the process of asserting their freedom.

Makes sense -- but I would have also expected a fair number of Lincolns, for that same reason.

3 posted on 02/21/2011 6:09:01 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Hawk)
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

Freddie Boom Boom Washington

4 posted on 02/21/2011 6:09:35 PM PST by RedMDer (Stimulus... hasn't stimulated ANYTHING but The TEA PARTY!!! - Sarah Palin)
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

How do you know that you are driving in the ‘hood? The street name is Martin Luther King Blvd


5 posted on 02/21/2011 6:18:48 PM PST by misterrob (Thug Life....now showing at a White House near you....)
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

How do you know that you are driving in the ‘hood? The street name is Martin Luther King Blvd


6 posted on 02/21/2011 6:18:49 PM PST by misterrob (Thug Life....now showing at a White House near you....)
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

Williams seems to be the most popular Black surname.


7 posted on 02/21/2011 6:20:27 PM PST by Eternal_Bear
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To: HiTech RedNeck

“Afterward, some historians theorize, large numbers of blacks chose the name Washington in the process of asserting their freedom.

Makes sense — but I would have also expected a fair number of Lincolns, for that same reason.”

You would think so. But it didn’t happen. The people of the time, both black and white respected Washington. My Cherokee ancestors took the name Washington, Madison as well, not a ‘Lincoln’ in the bunch.


8 posted on 02/21/2011 6:24:40 PM PST by AuntB (Illegal immigration is simply more "share the wealth" socialism and a CRIME not a race!)
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To: misterrob

King County, Washington is named after Martin Luther King.

Well, not always. Just since a couple of years ago. Before that it was known as King County - named after one of the early (and very white) settlers - Rufurd B. King or some-such.

I forget how many millions were spent redoing the logo, stationary, repainting county vehicles, etc.


9 posted on 02/21/2011 6:28:06 PM PST by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

10 posted on 02/21/2011 6:29:42 PM PST by rfp1234 (Le Parti du The'. Ne marchez pas sur moi!)
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To: 21twelve

William Rufus DeVane King, senator from Alabama and Vice President under Franklin Pierce.


11 posted on 02/21/2011 6:33:58 PM PST by Publius
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

I was called as a juror in a Judge Washington’s courtroom and was surprised to find that he was white.


12 posted on 02/21/2011 6:39:08 PM PST by stormer
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To: HiTech RedNeck

Safonda Cox?


13 posted on 02/21/2011 6:56:08 PM PST by Slicksadick (Go out on a limb........Its where the fruit is.)
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

What a wonderful tribute to the real black slaves who honor George Washington as their savior!

Not the present day race baters; not the black folks that believe they need reparations for what whitey did to them a few centuries ago; not the hot head rappers that try to incite a division between white and black; not the NAACP who tries to seperate the races by establishing black infrastructure that wants to emulate white infrastructure.

Washington, what a wonderful name, for black or white!


14 posted on 02/21/2011 7:59:47 PM PST by Noob1999 (Loose Lips Sink Ships)
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

I always thought it was motherf***er.


15 posted on 02/21/2011 8:06:27 PM PST by Trod Upon (Obama: Making the Carter malaise look good. Misery Index in 3...2...1)
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To: Publius; 21twelve

Likely named after Rufus King, signer of the Constitution, VP Candidate of the Federalist party against both Jefferson and Madison’s tickets, last Presidential candidate of the Federalist Party.


16 posted on 02/21/2011 8:14:43 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ('“Our own government has become our enemy' - Sheriff Paul Babeu)
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla
No, King County was named after William Rufus DeVane King of Alabama.

William Rufus Devane King was named after Rufus King.

17 posted on 02/21/2011 8:17:29 PM PST by Publius
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To: Germanicus Cretorian

Nathan Bedford Jones.


18 posted on 02/21/2011 8:17:50 PM PST by Mike Darancette (The heresy of heresies was common sense - Orwell)
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To: Publius

That’s what I meant. Interesting. Everybody knows the first Federalist Presidential candidate, very few know the last.


19 posted on 02/21/2011 8:20:53 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ('“Our own government has become our enemy' - Sheriff Paul Babeu)
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To: Mike Darancette

As far as first names (for guys) it has to be the “Shawn” derivatives...(recently beat out the Jamals).


20 posted on 02/21/2011 8:27:05 PM PST by DJlaysitup
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To: Publius

Thanks - interesting reading up on him. And Pierce County named after President Pierce. And to bring it back to the slaves/black names - William Rufus DeVane King was one of the largest slave holders in Alabama (country?) at the time.


21 posted on 02/21/2011 8:38:07 PM PST by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: 21twelve
Not only was he a slave owner, he was gay. He lived as close to a gay life style as he could without getting lynched by irate citizens. Sen. Andrew Johnson of Tennessee referred to him as "Senator Nancy Boy".

If you saw the movie "Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil" and remember Kevin Spacey's character, I think that would be a good characterization of King.

22 posted on 02/21/2011 8:50:40 PM PST by Publius
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To: Publius; 21twelve

William Rufus DeVane King was the long time room mate (in Washington, DC) of later President James Buchanan. At that time Congress was in session for only a few months every other year, the rest of the time they were in Alabama and Pennsylvania respectively. King was elected VP with Pierce in 1852, but took the oath of office in Cuba where he was staying for health reasons (it took a special act of Congress to allow this). He died at home shortly afterwards, and never set foot in DC while he was VP.


23 posted on 02/21/2011 9:07:32 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ('“Our own government has become our enemy' - Sheriff Paul Babeu)
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To: Lucius Cornelius Sulla

There were whispers that King and Buchanan were more than just roommates.


24 posted on 02/21/2011 9:10:19 PM PST by Publius
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To: Publius

They said the same thing about Lincoln because he occasionally shared a bed in rooming houses while ‘riding circuit’ in Illinois. Public behavior was different in that century, but any actually evidence of sodomy would have ended in jail or a grave, not a political career.


25 posted on 02/21/2011 9:19:22 PM PST by Lucius Cornelius Sulla ('“Our own government has become our enemy' - Sheriff Paul Babeu)
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To: AuntB

Didn’t American Indians commonly name themselves after some signifying vision they had in a dream around the time of adolescence? Hence names like Red Feather, Big Eagle, and the like.

Suppose one of this Indians had a more modernized dream, perhaps of a rifle being used in combat. Then he had to take a surname. Might that result in a Hot Rod Lincoln?


26 posted on 02/21/2011 9:25:54 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck (Hawk)
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To: Publius

I read that, but didn’t want to bring it up in case King was a favorite of yours! Got me to thinking though, but I couldn’t find any information on Martin Luther King’s ancestry - did the slaves sometimes take the names of the Plantation owners? And could M.L. King be descended from a slave of William R. King?


27 posted on 02/21/2011 10:17:28 PM PST by 21twelve ( You can go from boom to bust, from dreams to a bowl of dust ... another lost generation.)
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To: HiTech RedNeck
Didn’t American Indians commonly name themselves after . . .

"Tell me, Chief Soaring Eagle, how is it that our people acquire our names?"

"In this manner: that a father, upon hearing of his child's birth, names the child after the first thing he then sees. But why do you ask me this question, Two Dogs ****ing?"

28 posted on 02/22/2011 12:17:51 AM PST by Jeff Chandler (Judas Iscariot - the first social justice advocate. John 12:3-6)
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