Black People : Surnames from Slavemasters

Discussion in 'Black People Open Forum' started by StefiA, Aug 20, 2010.

  1. StefiA

    StefiA Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is really just an enquiry into how people feel about this topic - I've got no real idea what's accepted as normal black thinking on this or whatever. SURNAMES - now for most people in the world these come from just 3 things as far as I can see - the job your ancestor did, the name of where you came from and the name of your father - but with african americans there's a fourth way and maybe (?) the only way which is the name of the people who thought they owned your family way back - now because I'm as Obama would say a mutt my real full name is like quite long - its a whole load of Italian with an english name stuck on the end - now that english name is the name of the people in Georgia who were holding my grandpa's family prisoner - so in no way is it really my name and the more I come to know about what went on back in those days the less appropriate it seems to have that persons name on my passports, drivers licence etc etc. Does anyone else have that feeling? If so what do you do about it? - like I could just use my mother's Italian surname, but if you're all black that's not an option. Or do people think its good to keep those names for some reason?
     
  2. SophiaG

    SophiaG Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    This is difficult to try to answer.

    I can understand you wanting to change your surname. It'd signify you being a free person rather than one bound via history to a slavemaster.

    But I can also understand you keeping it as a sort of marker of history that shouldn't be forgotten.

    Other people can probably give better answers than I have but I wanted to respond anyway.
     
  3. MS234

    MS234 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Watered down reality.

    I don't see how choosing your mother's Italian surname equates to names carried by african american which we were forced to take?

    Names that were beaten into our ancestors.
     
  4. StefiA

    StefiA Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    @MS234

    "I don't see how choosing your mother's Italian surname equates to names carried by african american which we were forced to take?
    Names that were beaten into our ancestors."


    No you've not understood what I meant - I'm not equating them.
    What I'm getting at is this - presumably everyone who was kidnapped and shipped over to the US had their own African names...
    Now to be honest I don't know if all Africans today have first names AND surnames but that's a whole nother thing...
    Anyways lets say you were called Ned Thomas by the people imprisoning you...
    Now down the line your descendants are still called Thomas...
    Now I know there's no way probably that any african american can know what their original family name from Africa was...
    But, do some people feel that being called today by the name of a slaver from way back is something they'd rather change - like Sophia commented - to demonstrate your freedom or is it people's idea that they should keep those names as a perpetual reminder of the fact that their family experienced this and survived?
    Now the bit about my name is really just a side issue since I'm not pure black - so I still have a surname I could use that is from my family's past, but not the enslaved past - basically just take me out of the equation totally - cause like I said I'm a mutt. I'm more interested in whether african americans would like to change their names to more African ones or keep the ones that like you say were beaten into them.
     
  5. enquiring_mind

    enquiring_mind Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    I'd say that this is probably the case of all Afrikans in the diaspora, with the exception of those who are fortunate enough to retain their Afrikan names and surnames...Marriage aside, if you follow the PATRILINEAL (male) line back though any family, i.e, the offpring of any males, whose names have gone unchanged by marriage...you'll eventually hit a brick wall in the form of a slave-owning family- that'll be the origin of the name in question. I have a celtic surname (from my dad, I'm not married yet), with no other conceivable celtic links whatsoever....

    Hotep :)
     
  6. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    This is why many Blacks (back in the 60s) starting using the letter "X" as their last names because they didn't want to use the surname from the slave-owner who gave it to them.

    Also, many Blacks have legally changed their names to names taken from African languages:

    Also, I know one Black family who CREATED their own surname from the letters of each relatives first names.

    They did this after slavery and have been using this name ever since; and this oral history has been passed down in each generation in that family.

    So, if they meet someone they've never known before, they'll always know that person is a relative of theirs because of that unique last name.
     
  7. StefiA

    StefiA Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    @Cherryblossom
    So that I guess is why Malcolm X was called that - I'd always wondered why he had X as his last name - makes perfect sense now.
     
  8. cherryblossom

    cherryblossom Banned MEMBER

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    His birth name was Malcolm Little.

    He legally changed his name to Malik El-Shabazz.

    His wife, was also known, at one time, as "Betty X."

    But, being married to him, she became Betty Shabazz.
     
  9. MS234

    MS234 Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    no problem

    I went by your title. It doesn't say surname of my mother, it says slavemasters. Correct me if I'm wrong.

    Anyway call yourself what makes you comfortable w/o making mockery of yourself. And I don't see that happening. You're no "mutt" in my eyes.
     
  10. StefiA

    StefiA Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    @MS234
    Yeah you got the title right - I probably didn't make my opening post clear enough - its a habit I'm afraid - never was the best at saying what I mean in the easiest to understand way.