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User Name Thread Name Subject Posted
GUEST,Azizi African American Secular Folk Songs (149* d) RE: African American Secular Folk Songs 04 Jun 05


I look forward to your postings of examples of non-religious African American folk songs from the slave population in Creole areas.


You wrote that "Heman is an alteration of the name Hemann or Hemmann, which is Germanic. The name is not uncommon. Heman as such appears on 310 immigration records (which, of course, are incomplete; there probably were more before a system was set up to handle immigrants)."

You will note that I offered that possibility for Heman Sweat's name.

However, I stand by my position that this name or names like it were given to African Americans for the reason I provided.

I have a book on African American slavery entitled "Speak Loud With Thunder Tones" [which unfortunately I can't find at this moment}.
That book includes an account of a male head of an African American family who, after the end of slavery, chose the surname "Beman" because he wanted to make sure that White folks didn't call him or his sons 'boy'.

This is part of our culture as are the 'basket' names you referred to in your post {African Americans using African or other personal names and nicknames among themselves and the names given them by the massa and missus only when they had to}.

And there is also the African American tradition of using status names as personal names like "Prince", "King", "Princetta", "Star", "Queen", "Major" etc.

HERE is a website on selected names used by African Americans that I started a couple of years ago [and have sorely neglected; For instanceI haven't added anything to the data base for quite some time...]

But it might be of interest to Mudcat readers....

Azizi Powell

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