Introducing Black Harry Hoosier: The History Behind Indiana’s Namesake

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Stephen H. Webb

Abstract

Indiana's nickname is as distinctive as its source is mysterious. Early in the nineteenth century, Hoosier was a common synonym in the South for a yokel or bumpkin, but there is no record of how the term came to be used as slang or what it originally meant. The earliest Indiana settlers brought this word with them from the Appalachian region, but they left behind no trace of its etymology. By the middle of the nineteenth century, Indiana citizens had transformed this label of abuse and disparagement into a badge of pride and identity. Indiana folk were proud to be Hoosiers, but what did that mean?

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How to Cite
Webb, S. (2018). Introducing Black Harry Hoosier: The History Behind Indiana’s Namesake. Indiana Magazine of History, 112(3), 226-237. Retrieved from https://scholarworks.iu.edu/journals/index.php/imh/article/view/25483
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