Thursday, October 02, 2003


After the Civil War, the dominant White society lost its impetus to keep expanding the definition of Black. Since we had never identified ourselves with Blacks, we continued to identify ourselves as White. Another generation and the core was not quite as dark as the generation before it, and the edges were lighter still. By the time of the birth of my grandmother in 1888, the only place the core remained dark were in the tiny homelands: DeQuincy, Starks, Lunita, Singer, DeRidder; places like that. Those Ashworths and Perkins and Basses and Hoosiers and Clarks and Johnsons living on the perimeter, now thought of themselves as White without having to worry about fighting about it. By 1890 and 1900, they were no longer being listed as Mulatto on the census. When communities became wealthy enough to have schools, Redbones went to White schools. Race was no longer a legal issue. From now on, the game would be played by different rules.

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