The 2000 U.S. Census counted 163,036 people with the surname Washington. Ninety percent of them were African-American, a far higher black percentage than for any other common name...
"There was a lot more consciousness and pride in American history among African-Americans and enslaved African-Americans than a lot of people give them credit for ... they were thinking about how they could be Americans," says Adam Goodheart, a Washington College professor and author of "1861: Civil War Awakening."
But for black people who chose the name Washington, it's uncertain precisely why. "It's an assumption that the surname is tied to George," says Tony Burroughs, a black genealogist, who says 82 to 94 percent of Washingtons listed in the 1880 to 1930 censuses were black. "As far as I'm concerned it's a coincidence."..
Washington was listed 138th when the Census Bureau published the 1,000 most common American surnames from the 2000 survey... Ninety percent of those Washingtons, numbering 146,520, were black. Five percent, or 8,813, were white. Three percent were two or more races, 1 percent Hispanic, and 1 percent Asian or Pacific Islander.
Jefferson was the second-blackest name, at 75 percent. Lincoln was only 14 percent black. Many present-day Washingtons are surprised to learn their name is not 100 percent black.
23 February 2011
Washington - the "blackest name" in the United States
From an AP story in the StarTribune: