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FROM “NEGRO” TO “AFRICAN AMERICAN”: THE EVOLUTION OF BLACKS’ IDENTITY REFERENT IN AMERICA

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Author(s): Kouadio Germain N’Guessan

Journal: Studii si Cercetari Filologice. Seria Limbi Straine Aplicate
ISSN 1583-2236

Volume: 11;
Issue: 2012;
Start page: 219;
Date: 2012;
Original page

Keywords: Negro | “negroization” | black | African American | identity referent

ABSTRACT
Blacks in America have gone through a long process of identity quest often in a hostile environment. Throughout their American experience, they have been successively referred to as “Negro,” “New Negro,” “Blacks” and finally “African Americans.” These different referents traced the change in their identity according to the reality they were faced with at specific periods. Indeed, such periods as the 1920s, the 1960s and the 1980s were important landmarks that characterized this change. Thus, the expression of cultural heritage, the feeling of racial pride, the expression of a double identity (African and American), were in turn developed as the passage from slavery to freedom and self-assertion or from rejection to recognition.
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