Even though many people still use the word “Negro” today and the more derogatory version of the word, Keith Baird rallied tediously to get the label removed in the 1960s.
As a linguist, Baird spoke at conferences and wrote articles arguing that the word was a way to enslave black people. The scholar suggested instead that black people be referred to as Afro-American.
Baird migrated from Barbados to the U.S. in 1947, but he never left his Caribbean roots behind. According to his daughter, Marcia Baird Burris, the linguist still would at times talk in “Bajan” and celebrated the country’s 50th Independence celebrations last year.
Baird died in Atlanta on July 13 at 94 years old from a bone marrow disorder.
Read the full story from the New York Times.