Page:Popular Science Monthly Volume 49.djvu/65

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53
THE PYGMY IN THE UNITED STATES.

Virginia, there is a letter dated "The Oaks," February 20, 1773, and written by Miss Judith Graeme to her friend Miss Sarah Armistede. In this letter Miss Graeme bewails the fact that "Pa has bought four of those trifling, good-for-nothing little 'ginny niggers,' who will steal the cloathes off your back if you give them half a chaunce." After giving a page or so of local gossip, Miss Judith closes her letter with a postscript anent the little negroes, who seemed to have aroused her bitterest animosity.

PSM V49 D065 Pygmy of the united states.jpg
A Pygmy of the United States.

Says she, "The biggest one of those nasty little 'ginny niggers' is not five feet high." Thus we see that over a hundred years ago negritos were brought to America and sold as slaves. For all I know to the contrary, these little negroes had been coming into the country ever since slavery was first instituted. This is probably the reason that pygmies are no longer found in the region of the Niger or in Ashantee. The incursions of the Arab slave dealers have driven them farther and farther inland, until they now inhabit the dense forest solitudes of equatorial Africa. I do not believe that any of the Akka have ever been brought to America and sold as slaves, for the evidence shows that they have occupied the same region of country (Central Africa) for hundreds of years, but negritos closely akin to them and springing from the same root-stock were undoubtedly brought from the west and east coasts of Africa and sold as slaves in America. The descendants of these negritos are our American pygmies, who can be found in large numbers either living in colonies like that in the neighborhood of Charleston, S. C, or Bayou Goula, La., or scattered along the South Atlantic and Gulf seaboards. Hon. W, T. Ellis, member of Congress, who has made a study of these little negroes, says that they speak a language intelligible to themselves alone; that they have undoubtedly retained a large num-