When Italians were “Blacks”: The dark-skinned Sicilians

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Here are some interesting things:

Southern Italians were considered “black” in the South and were subjected to the Jim Crow laws of segregation. They weren’t allowed to marry “whites.” It was difficult, damn near impossible.

They were designated as “black” on census forms if they lived in the South and that is because the majority of them were dark-skinned Sicilians.

Mass lynchings happened to them often.

One of the biggest mass lynchings happened to Italians in New Orleans when they thought that a Italian immigrant had killed a “white” police officer.

The very few Northern Italians that immigrated here perpetuated the myth that Southern Italians and Greeks were of a different race than them in order to save their own asses. This wasn’t true, and there are actually dark-skinned Italians all over Italy, not just in the South, as well as light-skinned Italians all over Italy.

The reason I say very few is because over 80% of Italian immigrants were from Southern Italy (Sicily, Abruzzo, Calabria, Campania, Sardinia, Naples, etc.)

It was highly unlikely (damn near impossible) for a Southern Italian to own a slave because they were seen as the same as blacks, and at the time, they were the second (right behind blacks) most discriminated against group.

The mass immigration for Italians didn’t start until 1880 and even then, they were discriminated against. However, this mass immigration leads into Italian-Americans today:

Italian is the fourth largest ethnic group reported among white Americans.

The great majority of Italians are now middle class to upper middle class and wealthy. They also mostly work white collar jobs.

Their intermarriage rate is around 90%. It was at 80% in the 70’s. So most Italian-Americans also have a white parent of some other descent, especially if they were born after 1980. Exactly like my friend who has a Sicilian father (and he is very dark-skinned) and white Southerner for a mother. We spoke to my friend’s Sicilian grandfather, and he said that one of his brothers was dating a white girl from the South back in the day and that her family considered him “black.” They thought that was weird because by that time, they were living in New York.

They are now considered white



I thought it was interesting looking at back then and looking at them now. I knew they weren’t considered white back then, but I had no idea they actually wrote them down as black on census forms. That shocked me, and when I found that my friend’s ancestor was listed as black on that census form, I thought the ancestor was just a biracial who had a Sicilian father, and so did she. We were just as surprised to find that he was just a teenage Sicilian immigrant. My friend has tanned skin, dark hair, blue eyes, and freckles to boot. So you can see both ethnicities in her. My Greek professor is way darker than her, and he also has a white, WASPY mother.

Italians are still discriminated against. I remember hearing a group of white women referring to them as “Ghetto Whites”. Many whites who feel they have a “true bloodline” dont like them. Anglo Saxonism is a bitch. Pretty much anyone not from England, Gemany (not Jews), Netherlands and so on is not “truly white”. From my experience and when I look at history, this is how white supremacists feel. Spaniards are technically considered Euopean/”white”, but many dont accept them as that. Discrimination among the white race is very prevalent.

Courtesy Lipstickvalley

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302 thoughts on “When Italians were “Blacks”: The dark-skinned Sicilians”

  1. Dear sir first off many sicilians come from the main land and Spain and. Do not have any black or whatever blood I know for a fact my mothers father side have Norman and my mothers mother are a mix of Spain from Valencia region
    My family came to Sicily after or about when roger the Norman got their sicilians have move of the haplo gene r13b in their DNA the myth that sicilians are black was hatch by African Americans to counter the racist remarks of ignorant southern Italians I happen to be German Lithuanian Czech and Slovak besides being Italian
    Czech. Slovak poles and lithuanians share more of the r13b gene in them Germans or even Russians do
    The r13b gene is a generic trait found in the majority of European speaking people

    1. You are southern Italian yourself jackass, so does that make me more ignorant than you since I too am southern Italian

  2. If a So-called black man (African American) has a child with any woman of any nation, that child is black. It goes by what the father is. I’ll wait for ignorant comments so I can further prove this fact.

    1. untrue… it goes by the dominant gene black is dominant so if the mother black and the father white the child is still black

    2. Not in America. A child’s race on their birth certificate is based on the child’s mothers race. I am Caucasian and my ex is Honduran and on my twins birth certificates it says they are Latin.

      1. Derek,

        This is not true. There are many white women married to black men, and white men married to black women. If both parents are not white the child is considered non-white period. This goes back to slave laws to discourage inter-racial marriage and was targeted at white women and black men. White men had no problem impregnating black women while assuming no responsibility for their children. Strom Thurman is a good modern day example.

  3. My Grand Parents on my fathers side came to America from Avellino Italy in 1883 and in the Census they were checked W…

  4. I am American. I never have woken up with an awareness of my color. My first thoughts are how much I need a cup of coffee, what the weather is and then I start wondering how I’m going to pay my bills. Later, I give thought to how my kids and grandkids are doing. Then I do some housework. The less we think about what race/ethnicity we or others are, the better off we would be.

  5. I’ll be short. It’s rediculous to say that Italians could own slaves because they were considered Black. Native Americans and Black folks owned slaves. We’re the considered white? I am of African descent. My last name is Polite “Italian”. The Italians who brought the name to America, left Italy and went to Great Britan and Wales. In the 1830’s they arrived in Missouri – don’t ask me how, that’s just what the records show. In the Civil War, 30% of the Polites fought for the confederates, 70% fought for the union army. During the war the confederate Polites moved to South Carolina and Savannah, Georgia. 95% of every Polite you’ll meet in America, trace their lineage to South Carolina or Georgia. The POLITE FAMILY FARM, passed down to emancipated alaves, still exist today. I guess there goes your theory of that Italians couldn’t ownslaves.

    The Irish, yes the original Irish came to North America by slave ships. Laws developed to outlaw enslaving Christians made their experience short lived. As for the Sicilians being enslaved in America… did you make that crap up? First of all, the mass influx of Italians to America was in the 1880’s 15 years after slavery ended.

  6. I agree with you Gloria Serido, coffee, work, grand kids and keeping my house in order. Because by the end of the day whether people like it or not we all come from Africa.

    1. Skull shape has nothing to do with your race, have you ever even gone to school or gotten a proper education. I never knew anyone could be that stupid

  7. My parents (and ALL ancestors for generations) come from a small mountain town in the Campagna region of SOUTHERN Italy (north of Benevento). Recently took the Ancestry DNA test. This test had a surprising number of African categories. I was ZERO in all African categories, AND zero North African. I was 80% European Southern Italian, 3% European Jew?, 1% Ireland??? 1% W. Europe, 1% British isles (guess Roman soldiers stationed in Britania brought home native wives)11% Caucasus (supposedly common in Southern Italians) 3% middle eastern. No African genes in my background whatsoever. Nothing annoys me more than idiots who make uninformed blanket statements like all Southern Italians have African ancestors, NOT TRUE. Of course the unelected leftist globalist bureaucrats in Brussels are hellbent on destroying the white race in Europe with this African invasion.

  8. we all originate from AFRICA… if we look carefully we will find black brazillians …black cubans… black chinese ect … society has given us lots of misinformation at the end of the day we are on this earth with all of our differences so that we can work it out… no one race …sexual identity… or color is any better than the other … my great grand father was Irish and as of to date i have all types of races in the family I WILL ALWAYS BE BLACK and i am greatful

    1. You do know that a more recent study was done, and it points to ENGLAND as the first place for human life. So toss Africa out. It’s jumbled Darwin-ism that has been proven wrong.

  9. Sicilians were never “black”, (regardless of what WASPs thought. What made WASPS arbiters of who is who anyway?) but they were in fact enslaved, en masse, by the Blackamoors, who very much were Black.

  10. Well. TRACY DIMACRO ESP. NEEDS TO READ THIS. BC SHE’S SUCH A SELF HATING AGAINST BLKS. EVEN THO she always says she’s nearly blk etc.etc. I tan… smh no you are white with skin that takes well to sun… leave blks alone…
    @tracydimarcoeps IG

  11. All I want to know is what did we do as originals not aboriginal for my brother to hate me so much in this world? You aliens or Enlil and enki kids ( goat) love to control and hate . THE MOST HIGH AND YESHUA LOOK LIKE MY GOLDEN BUTT. WHEN BLACK IS ILLUMINATED GOLD WILL ALWAY BE US HATERS . AND STILL LOVE YOUR WEAK BUTT.

  12. Question, my dad whom I did not know because he passed away in 1985 when I was 5 , was said to have been Italian. My skin tone is dark olive and my hair is black eyes brown. My dad’s last name was Ross. Ancestry.com says Ross sure name is English/Scottish. I can say that my dad was neither . I have pics of him and he was very olive skin and black hair and brown eyes. My ? Is is it possible that when his parents came to Ellis Island, that they shortened their names or changes the spelling?

    1. Yes, it is possible that your grandparents may have chosen to change their names to sound more American. Most likely it was not done at Ellis Island as inspectors pretty much copied names off the ship’s manifest or other documents that were presented. They were not interested in renaming people, they mainly just did their job. It was the immigrants themselves that chose to shorten or change names altogether. They also could have been advised to do so depending on the profession they chose. It was very common in show business to have a more anglo sounding name. They also often changed their first names as did Pierino Ronald Como, better known as Perry Como.

  13. My paternal great grandparents were born in Italy and in Sicily . As I have qlways known Europe is by far the most mixed race of people that exist. If white supremist wanted to keep a pure white race the should never sent white men to fight wars in other countries. All of man early settlement and civilizations have been attacked many times over and that my friend makes us all related . Dont believe me? Get your dna checked ,oh and then imagine if no one had vision. Raciam is a made up fear based controlling mechanism created to keep peoplecfighting and hating so they those that make money from wars can make more money .wake up people ,how long are you going to be brainwashed . Im still waiting for people to wake up so we can heal and grow in a more productive society

  14. No one thalks about the true history of the south…
    The south the ex ( kingdom of the two Sicilies)
    What it was before it got unjustly annexed to the Sardinian kingdom also known as piedmont..
    In 1861… and the genocide of the southern italian people by the Piedmontese (northern italianians) to repress the rebellion from 1861 till 1871…. 1 million southerners italians labeled ( briganti) bandits…..although rebels against the newly form italian state…who formed a pact with the mafias to steal everything from the ex kingdom….
    Today it exists an imnaginary line between the north and the south…. that is to this day very racist against the south…. history that was not taught in school the southerners got made 2nd classs italians againts their will… simply the south got made to be an internal colony of the north….we’re treated differently within italy itself..

  15. Those in denial should watch True Romance the Sicilian scene… The only difference is that I have learnt that it was Alexander the Great who went to African and find blue eye’s black people and brought them back to Italy and not so much the Moor’s…

  16. All races come from Africa, so to say your are not black would make most people confused since the facts tell us that mankind started in Africa…

  17. I wonder if the original poster knows my family!! My Italian Brooklyn Dad married a southern woman (from Charleston). It goes something like this…his father and mother were both from Naples and emigrated during one of those ‘italian waves’ after the turn of the century. Both of my grandparents were medium – dark olive complexion – my grandfather was fairly short, and had a very large hooked nose. My grandmother was more refined looking but not a looker, though I saw very old pictures of her own mother (my great grand) and she was absolutely beautiful.

    So, once my grandparents met in America, they married and had 5 children. All of them had their own look and all had very big noses. One of my Aunts’ was very dark complected and the others were med. olive. All had brown eyes. They were poor and lived in the “Italian ghetto” —I mean they were really poor. My grandfather wasn’t educated and was made a naturalized citizen after serving in the army. He learned English but never how to write. My grandmother was very shy and only learned broken English – but all of her children spoke it until later when my father and his younger sister forgot how..

    My Dad, while serving in the military met my mother in S.C. She has English ancestry and blue eyes. As a child she was called a “toe-head” because her hair was almost white.
    When her parents met my Dad, they saw a very handsome and charismatic man, but yes, he was a dark “eye-talian.” Very interesting because as you know just prior to this the south was very segregated. Anyway, my father moved my mom back to NY and had 4 kids. I’m the youngest. This is how we look:
    My oldest sister could pass for biracial and looks African American, Spanish, Mexican, Egyptian, Arab, Italian etc with dark wavy hair, brown eyes, full lips. She is very pretty. My brother…light olive complexion, blue eyes, dark hair. He is nice looking. My other sister…dark hair, med olive complexion, hazel eyes and tans dark and can pass for Mexican or Spanish. Also attractive. Me…white alabaster skin, dirty blonde/brown hair, freckles, hazel green eyes. In my youth I was quite pretty, now i’m just getting old! Anyway, my 2 sisters at first glance resemble each other because of their hair color and nose shape, which isn’t big, just average and nice shape. But in other ways, I resemble my oldest sister and people say we look alike even though she’s much darker and has fuller lips. When I look at her I see such a mix, it would be interesting to do her ancestry and then my own and see how similar or different it comes up.

    I think I’ve read that even in the same family not all siblings will carry the same exact amounts. BTW, I can’t stand any form that asks about “race” and find it insulting. Why do they need to know at the doctors office which race I am – I’m of the human race. So, normally I leave it unchecked.

    Last, my son had blonde hair, olive complexion and light brown eyes when little. As he grew, his hair darkened and his features sharpened. He looks of Arab or Egyptian descent especially when he grows facial hair. His nose is a smaller version of my grandfathers nose. His Dad (my spouse) is a real mix… has a ton of everything,…English, French, Irish, and Native American Indian. I feel like our son grabbed the Native American and the Italian features and whatever subsets or mixes are associated with those. VERY interesting topic.

    While on the subject, I think it’s safe to say that Italian immigrants were very much discriminated against. My aunt told me a story of how when my grandfather had to go up to her school, the teacher yelled at him and called him a “greasy wop” to which he replied furiously, “I served this country” as he pointed toward the American flag in the classroom.

    I myself, experienced my own problems in middle school when as one of the few white kids attending a particular Brooklyn school was called all kinds of names from both Puerto Rican and Black students and was constantly harassed by both groups. Some of the P.R. kids looked whiter or more European than me. Interestingly, my only friend in school was a beautiful very dark skinned Indian girl! They didn’t like her either and would make fun of her eating curry she’d bring to school, it was an awful time for both of us. But we made quite a pair…me with long dirty blonde hair and her with jet black long hair. Sadly, this was when I first realized I wasn’t liked just because of my skin color and my hair. Before this, I was just a kid who had lived in both NY and SC…and our differences didn’t matter because children are innocent until society, media and culture tries to divide us. I have nothing against being proud of heritage and culture…because that’s what makes the world go around and we would not be able to appreciate each others foods, music, customs and traditions without it, but I am so tired of everything being about social, political and cultural correctness. GAG me over and over, why can’t everybody just get along? “Come on people now, smile on each other, everybody get together and try to love one another right now.” -The Youngbloods,
    “One Love, One Heart, Let’s get together and feel alright,” – Bob Marley

  18. The term “black ” italian stems from the fact that Iberia” the “Moors” were at war with Italy in the 11th century before there was ever a “Spain” and some stayed behind and had families. Spain did not exist until Isabel who was not of castille until she eloped with Ferdinand against the Pope’s wishes and Ferdinands army win her castille at which point she became of castille and Spain then all of Europe was created. The seat of the Moorish conquest was Grenada and at that time there was no Spain. This also is where the term “black Irish” comes from. They are the decendants of a moor who survived that time. This is history not a personal need not to be something. Please refer to your history books and read more than one. The term romantic languages stems from countries who were together in war and who benefited from those spoils. Look at how Africa was divided and who gained territories there

  19. I am Sicilian. Thought I was 100%. Just did a DNA test. Found out I’m 60% Sicilian and 40% French. Europeans have been meandering around Europe since the being of time.

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