Roll Call

In 1938, University of North Carolina folklorist Arthur Palmer Hudson published a collection of unusual African-American names, most gathered through personal interviews but others “unimpeachably attested” by state bureaus of vital statistics:

  • Comer Mercantile Company
  • Castor Oil
  • Morphine
  • Dr. Root Beer
  • Oleomargarine
  • Artificial Flowers
  • Elevator
  • Dill Pickle
  • League of Nations
  • Toledo Ohio
  • Positive Wasserman (after a hospital wrist tag)
  • Jesus Hoover Christ (“the family was a beneficiary of the Red Cross when Hoover was director”)
  • Jesse James Outlaw
  • James All Virtuous
  • Sandy Alexander Soap Fish and Tobacco Box
  • Susan Anna Banana Green Doosenberry Watson
  • Rosa Belle Locust Hill North Carolina Beauty Spot Evans
  • Frank Harrison President of the United States Eats His Lasses Candy and Swings on Every Gate Williams
  • Pneumonia and Neuralgia (twins)
  • Flat Foot Floogie
  • State Normal and Industrial College (“Snic”)
  • No Parking
  • Lake Erie Banks
  • Cleopatra Blue

In the 1850s, a Stanly County, N.C., slave was named Sunday May Ninth “to guarantee the bearer’s remembrance of his birthday.” “This name proved useful to the ex-slave in establishing his status with reference to a monetary claim.”

Hudson seems to have been enchanted by unusual names generally — among the UNC alumni he found a white student named Shively Dewilder Accus Baccus Dulcido.

(Arthur Palmer Hudson, “Some Curious Negro Names,” Southern Folklore Quarterly 2:4, December 1938, pp. 179-193.)