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Great post! "Mulatto" can indeed be misleading. I've encountered numerous family members who were reported as "mulatto," when they were likely of light complexion. In 1880, my great-grandmother was reported as "Mu", as well as her infant, first-born child, while her husband, my great-grandfather, was reported as Black. In this instance, this reporting was true because of my grandmother's stories, who would often spoke about how her mother (who was actually a "quadroon") could easily pass. However, the census-taker also listed the child as Mu. Whenever I give genealogy presentations, I always tell folk if they encounter "Mu" in the census, don't automatically assume that the person had one Black parent and one White parent. Many times, this designation was based on appearances. A person could have had two "true Mulatto" parents and can appear to be "Mu" him/herself.
3 years ago on The Mulatto Factor in Black Family Genealogy