For N&O editor, ‘colorful’ word was worth fighting for

“Aware of the term’s inappropriateness in everyday speech, [Jonathan Daniels in 1941] yet considered [“nigger”] ‘an indispensable word… in all colorful discussions of American life.’

“He believed, and hoped others would agree, that when he used the word ‘nigger’ or ‘pickaninny,’ he used them with sympathy and not malice and to describe more accurately the condition of many black people. In most cases he did, but little credible excuse could have been made for his describing… night as ‘black as a pickaninny’s hide’ and summer as almost having ‘a pulse in it like a buck nigger panting.’ ”

— From “Jonathan Daniels and Race Relations: The Evolution of a Southern Liberal” by Charles W. Eagles (1982)

 

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