As I write this, in the U.S. we’ve just celebrated Presidents’ Day and we’re concluding Black History month. Accordingly, I found this article about how 90 percent of Americans with the surname “Washington” are African American. As author Jesse Washington explains,
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.
(Apparently only a small number of George Washington’s slaves bore his last name.)
I’m curious what George Washington and his family would think of this turn of events.
The second blackest name by percentage? Jefferson.
It’s an interesting article–definitely click through to read it.