Either that or politically correct American terminology. African may have sounded less “racist” than negro and more official than black.
Race and Ethnicity Classification Consistency Between the Census Bureau and the National Center for Health Statistics; Larry Sink; Administrative Records and Methodology Research Branch, Population Division, U.S. Bureau of the Census, Washington, D.C. 20233; February 1997; POPULATION DIVISION WORKING PAPER NO. 17.
In 1976 the vital statistics used Negroe as the race identifier.
The only relevant terms authorized for official use in the vital statistics of the United States between 1960 and 2000 were Negroe and Black.
One of the first things learned in the Black American Studies, African History class at a university during the social changes of the late 1960s and early 1970s is the multi-racial nature of Africa's population throughout history. You also learn how slavery in Africa was endemic and a major part of the Arab-African economy in North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa. The usage of the term “African” versus “European” to designate a non-White person was a colonial racist practice. The recent practice of using African-American as a designation for race constitutes a continuation of this historical colonial racism. A person can be designated as a Kenyan-American without denoting the race of a person, just as being an Anglo-American does not necessarily disclose the fact a person is a descendant of English and Gambian grandparents in the British Bahamas in 1712. In actual fact, the term, African-American, encompasses all human beings all of whose ancestors came from Africa. More recent generations of African-Americans include a variety of races, cultures, and nationalities. Using the African-American terminology to designate the black or negroe race to the exclusion of all other races native to Africa is historically false and racist in its effect upon all races. In the bizarro world of political correctness, such an oxymoron appears to be typical abuse of the language and the races.