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date: 15 November 2018

sambo n.1 (also zambo) [Sp. zambo, used to describe those of mixed black and Indian or European blood. The word also describes a breed of yellow monkey. The US use, which emerged during the era of slavery, may have a different root; the Foulah sambo, uncle or Hausa sambo, second son, or name of the spirit. The suggestion by F&H of a third root, an African tribe, the Samboses (for whom they claim an appearance in a text of 1558) has no validity. Sambo began as a neutral term, but as slavery fell into increasing disrepute, so did its terminology. The word was widely popularized by Helen Bannerman's best-selling children's book The Story of Little Black Sambo (1923), but the term, and that book, have long since been considered unacceptable] 

Source:
Green's Dictionary of Slang
Author(s):

Jonathon Green

1 a derog. term for a black man; also found as a generic and used by blacks self-referentially. ...

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