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African-American Nomenclature: The Label Identity Shift from "Negro" to "Black" in the 1960s.


In the United States, Americans of African Descent have held many identity labels: African, Colored, Negro, Afro-American, Black, and African-American. In the 1960s, there was a shift from the use of "Negro" to the use of "black" as a group identifier. In 1966 Stokely Carmichael shouted the phase "Black Power." Three years later, in 1969, "Negro" was replaced by "black" as the dominant label identifier. This paper will how I measured when the shift occurred and will also set out three major explanations for why the shift happened relatively quickly. Understanding the shift to "black" may help with understanding why the identifier "African-American" has not completely replaced "black."

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