The imageSeal of the Committee for the Abolition of the Slave Trade, founded 1787
Although slavery was abolished during the Civil War (1860-1865), it continued to affect the lives of African Americans well into the 20th century, particularly in the South.

Open the file below to read about slavery and answer questions 3.1 through 3.5 on your worksheet.

Read the information about where the word "nigger" came from, then click on the link and read Mildred Taylor's acceptance speech for the ALAN Award, then answer question 3.8 on your worksheet.

Use of the "n" word

"The etymology [word history] of nigger is often traced to the Latin niger, meaning black. The Latin niger became the noun negro (black person) in English, and simply the color black in Spanish and Portuguese. In Early Modern French niger became negre and, later, negress (black woman) was clearly a part of lexical [word] history. One can compare to negre the derogatory nigger – and earlier English variants such as negar, neegar, neger, and niggor – which developed into a parallel lexico-semantic reality [same meaning] in English. It is likely that nigger is a phonetic spelling of the white Southern mispronunciation of Negro. Whatever its origins, by the early 1800s it was firmly established as a denigrative epithet [disrespectful name]. Almost two centuries later, it remains a chief symbol of white racism."

Mildred D Taylor's Alan Award Acceptance Speech