Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)



First Advisor

Dr. Elon Kulii


This thesis aims to examine the usage and history of the various racial labels attributed to Black Americans and how the cyclical usage of Negro, Black, Colored, and African American are a haunting that Black people will most likely face again. As these terms do not fulfill a nationalistic identity, the quest for a satisfactory term still exists. To illustrate this journey, examining the novel Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison will expose how her text subtly charges the reader to embark on a journey of self-discovery. Not only is the reader charged to “know thy self”, but they are exposed to an overlooked history of the African diaspora in the Americas— African Muslims or Moors. It is perhaps this overlooked American history that may offer new insights to the conundrum of the Black American identity.