From NKAA, Notable Kentucky African Americans Database (main entry)

Negrito (in Kentucky)

(born: 1896) 

This entry was added in response to the reference question, "Were Negro jockeys in Kentucky descendents of Negrito slaves brought to Kentucky prior to 1865?"  No evidence has been found at this time to support the idea that Negro jockeys in Kentucky were descendents of Negrito slaves.

In 1896, there was an article written about a "Negrito" in Kentucky. The article, "The Pygmy in the United States" by Dr. James Weir, was published in Appleton's Popular Science Monthly, May-October 1896, v.49, pp.46-56. No name is given in the article for the man being referred to as a "Negrito." He was said to have been born in Bayou la TĂȘche, LA, and was 50 years old when he was brought to Kentucky by his old mistress who was not named in the article. The man was said to be 4 feet 9 inches tall, and there are two pictures of him in Dr. Weir's article.

The term "Negrito" is a Spanish word for "little Negro" or "little black person." The term has been used in reference to ethnic groups throughout the world, but in particular to populations in isolated areas of Southeast Asia. "Negritos" have been characterized as less than five feet in stature, with dark skin, and wiry, bushy, or tightly curled hair. For more than a century, the racial, cultural, and biological origins of persons defined as "Negritos" has been debated and analyzed by researchers such as Dr. James Weir, Louis Lapicque, David P. Barrows, R. Bennet Bean, and Clarissa Scholes et al. There are hundreds of journal articles and books written about populations in various geographic regions who are referred to as "Negritos," though not in Kentucky. There are also a number of newspaper articles about "Negritos" in Southeast Asia, including about 28 articles in Kentucky newspapers found in Kentucky Digital Newspaper Program [KDNP] dated from 1896-1920.

For more about Louis Lapicque see his entry in the Complete Dictionary of Scientific Biography, 2008, v. 8, pp.29-30. See D. P. Barrows, "The Negrito and allied types in the Philippines," American Anthropologist, July-September 1910, v.12, no.3, pp.358-376; R. B. Bean, "Types of man in the yellow-brown race," American Journal of Anatomy, March 1925, vol.35, no.1, pp.63-80; Clarissa Scholes et. al. "Genetic diversity and evidence for population admixture in Batak Negritos from Palawan," American Journal of Physical Anthropology, September 2011, vol.146, no.1, pp.62-72; and see I. Arenillas and J. A. Arz,  "Hominid Descriptions" on pp.13-25 in the 21st Century Anthropology; a reference handbook by H. J. Birx, 2010.

Outside Kentucky Place Name

Item Relations

Cite This NKAA Entry:

“Negrito (in Kentucky),” Notable Kentucky African Americans Database, accessed June 19, 2024,

Last modified: 2022-12-16 18:15:23