Date: Mon, 19 Jan 1998 06:09:24 EST


Subject: Bugs & Koons

This citation of "Koons" is one of our earliest illustrating this

derogatory term for African-Americans. "Dandy bugs" (continuing my

entomologies) is also of interest.

It's from the MICROSCOPE (available on American Periodical Series), New

Albany, Indiana, vol. 1, no. 41, 5 February 1825, pg. 3, col. 2:


Dear Tim--Our Jess went to town the other day, & bought a Gawky Cap, and

when he came home the dogs barked at him. Mamma, she run out to see, and

cried out to me, "why Polly, here comes a 'Koon on horse-back." I went in

haste to see the wonder, and behold it was only Jess. A smart argument

commenced between Mamma and Jess, about wearing the _Cap_. Jess said, that

the dandy Bugs wore them in town, & he had a right to wear any thing worn by

them: whilst Mamma declared that none of her children should disguise

themselves, so as to be taken for Koons--she did not care what kind of _bugs_

wore them, even if they were _tumble-bugs_; none should be worn about her

house,--In the midst of the dispute, father came in, and being informed of the

particulars, he put the cap on the head of black Tom, and cooly observed,

"that no one who layed claim to the principle of a white man, would be catched

with such a thing on his head."