The names in the 1998 book, The Complete Guide to African-American Baby Names, come solely from people of African descent. Every name is the name of a real person.
Names from questionnaires
In the 1998 book, The Complete Guide to African-American Baby Names, some names are from people who completed a questionnaire. Some names submitted on the questionnaire are role models—names from history (past and recent), from the lives of the famous, and from families and communities. The historical name of a role model listed most often was Martin Luther King, Jr., followed by Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell, Jesse Jackson, Barbara Jordan, Thurgood Marshall, and Mary McLeod Bethune. Among the famous, the name of a role model listed most often was Michael Jordan, followed by Maya Angelou, Bill Cosby, Arthur Ashe, Oprah Winfrey, Whoopi Goldberg, Spike Lee, and Michael Jackson. The role model from the family or community most often cited was a mother or grandmother, followed by a father or grandfather and a teacher. Every name submitted on a questionnaire is included in the book.
Names from organizations and institutions
For the 1998 book, The Complete Guide to African-American Baby Names, several organizations and institutions responded to a request and added names to the book: Bishop State Community College, Black Periodical Fiction Project at Harvard University, Chicago Bulls basketball organization, Cleveland Indians baseball club, Jacksonville Jaguars football organization, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change, National Black Police Association, National Society of Black Physicists, National Student Retention Conference, New York Mets baseball club, South Carolina State University, The University of Maryland—Eastern Shore, Virginia Union University, and Vorhees College.
Names from the pages of history
In the 1998 book, The Complete Guide to African-American Baby Names, some names come from the pages of history. The book honors the names of those who suffered the dark voyage of the Middle Passage, those who suffered their lives in enslavement, and those who suffered and suffer the forces of discrimination. The book touches on the lives of historical and famous African Americans who changed the course of history and also those unsung heroes who touched lives that, as a result, will never be the same. The names come from books, newspapers, magazines, television, web pages, brochures, calendars, e-mails, and letters. All of the names of the Kane-Butler family from Agnes Kane Callum’s Kane-Butler Genealogy: History of a Black Family, which was self-published in 1979, are included.