In the South, regardless of hair-splitting dictionary or legal definitions, it is customary to regard as negro any person who is known to have any negro blood in his veins; this despite the fact that the Supreme Court of Louisiana has lately handed down a decision restricting the term "negro" to those having a greater proportion of negro blood than would occur in an octoroon. This decision, however much it may be law, has not been the custom.
It may not be commonly known in the North that prior to the war it was the custom in the South among the better class of slave owners to give the very best care and attention to the slaves—to the house-servants as well as every other class of laborer generally. Of course, while due credit must be given to the humane motive at the bottom of this, it must be acknowledged that
FOLKES HM. THE NEGRO AS A HEALTH PROBLEM. JAMA. 1910;55(15):1246-1247. doi:10.1001/jama.1910.04330150006002