What Is An Octoroon?


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Patricia Devereux Profile
An octoroon is a person having one black African or Caribbean great-grandparent, in other words, one-eighth black blood. Or an octoroon is the offspring of a quadroon and an Anglo.  Octoroon, quadroon, quintroon, and hexadecaroon (one-eight, -fourth, -fifth, and -16th black blood, respectively) were historically racial categories used in Latin America and the 19th century Southern United States. The terms were also used in Australia to refer to people of mixed Aboriginal and Anglo blood.    While these terms had precise definitions, in actual practice they were based on impressions of skin color rather than definite knowledge of ancestry. Many octoroons "passed" as whites, but lived in constant fear of prosecution if found out.    These cultural classifications differed from the "one-drop theory" -- a single drop of black blood made a person legally black -- then used in most of the U.S. In that it recognized a higher social status for people of black descent because they had mostly white ancestry.  But "-roons" were still discriminated against and often subject to slavery.    The Jim Crow discrimination laws generally followed the one-drop theory. A notorious case involved Homer Plessy, a Louisiana octoroon who was prevented from sitting in a railroad car reserved for whites.The political opponents of President Warren G. Harding spread the rumour that he was an octoroon in order to discredit him in the highly racist society of the 1920s. Some of novelist William Faulkner's most tragic protagonists are octoroons.
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angelia arrington
During American slavery times a lot of plantation owners did not allow the "bright skins" to ferry their daughters from one plantation to another.

Even still, they told the girls that their male slaves had tails like a monkey to deter them from getting too "curious".
angelia arrington Profile
The octoroons (and other "roons") were considered too wiley to most masters and were shunned because they had too much "human" blood, thus making them more of a mental match for their owners.

Though it was against the law for a slave to learn to read some of the octoroons were taught to read and were sent abroad by their master/father to get a formal education and to become "continental" like their white constinuents.

The young female octoroons attended an "octoroons" ball when she came of age. Some "edigible" (eligible) white man (not necessarily a bachelor) would pick her out, marry her if he was suitable and set her up in a nice house for life.

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