For other uses, see Niggerhead (disambiguation).

In several English-speaking countries, niggerhead or nigger head is a former name for several things thought to resemble a black person's head (cf. "nigger").[1][2]

The term was once widely used for all sorts of things, including nautical bollards[3][4] and consumer products including soap, chewing tobacco, stove polish, canned oysters and shrimp, golf tees, and toy cap pistols, among others. It was often used for geographic features such as hills and rocks and geological objects such as geodes.[5][6] The term appears in several US patents for mechanical devices prior to about 1950.[7] [8]

In 1955, the Aughinbaugh Canning Company of Mississippi renamed its "Nigger Head Brand" oysters to "Negro Head Brand" following pressure from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People.[9] More than a hundred "Niggerheads", and other place names now considered racially offensive, were changed in 1962 by the U.S. Board on Geographic Names, but many local names remained unchanged.[10]

Languages other than English have used similar terms to describe chocolate-coated marshmallow treats.

See also


  1. Koch, Harold; Hercus, Luise (2009). Aboriginal Placenames: Naming and Re-Naming the Australian Landscape. Canberra: ANU E Press. p. 200. ISBN 978-1-921666-08-7.
  2. Whitney, William Dwight; Smith, Benjamin Eli (1911). The Century Dictionary and Cyclopedia. The Century co. p. 4335.
  3. "Skill in the Surf – A Landing Boat Manual". Accessed via Naval History & Heritage Command. February 1945. Retrieved 2013-01-05.
  4. "English Dictionary – Definition of "niggerhead"". Collins. Retrieved 2013-10-05.
  5. Mordoh, Alice (1989). The Old Traditional Way of Life. Indiana University Folklore Institute: Trickster Press. p. 99. ISBN 0-915305-02-X.
  6. Wallace, Samuel (1878). The American Journal of Science and Arts VolXV. New Haven. p. 366.
  7. US patent 2157153, Herman J Toche, "Niggerhead", published 1939-05-09, assigned to American Coach And Body Company
  8. US patent 2585991, John Balmer, "Niggerhead", published 1952-02-19, assigned to John Balmer
  9. Johnson Publishing Company (18 August 1955). Jet. Johnson Publishing Company. p. 28. ISSN 0021-5996. Retrieved 2013-05-01.
  10. McCrummen, Stephanie (2 October 2011). "At Rick Perry's Texas hunting spot, camp's old racially charged name lingered". Washington Post. Retrieved 2 October 2011.
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