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BHM Day 7: Sambo

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The character “Sambo” has long been used as a way to degrade and stereotype black people.  But its origins are rarely discussed.

The term first became popular in America in the 1800s.  It was Harriet Beecher Stowe’s book Uncle Tom’s Cabin that helped give the term a negative connotation.  In her book, the character of Sambo was an overseer who beat Uncle Tom to death.

Another book, The Story of Little Black Sambo, was the story of a dark-skinned East Indian boy whose tale proved the name to be racist and offensive.

But there’s evidence that it may have origins that reach back several hundred years. The word “zambo” in the Spanish and Portuguese Empire described a person of mixed race.  In the West African Foulah tribal language, it translates to “uncle.”

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About LoLo (14477 Articles)
Lo Brewer is a graduate of Rutgers University, where she received a BA for her major in Journalism & Media Studies. She started her career in ad sales and corporate training and worked in media for over a decade at Viacom and Fox Networks. But in 2015, she moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career that revolved around her two greatest passions, writing and crafting. Soon she was writing for several websites as an entertainment, fashion and music expert. She also launched a small business creating felt crafts and Ankara clothing and home goods through Etsy. Lo is a Jersey Girl (in a Cali world), a self-professed pop culture idiot savant, a homebody, a hardcore crafter, a lover of all things retro & vintage, a thrift shopoholic, and an all-around silly MF. In addition to being a celebriologist and DIY demon, she is also a novelist. Her first, The Semester, was published in 2013. She hopes to publish her second book, The Apartment, in the upcoming year.