Roy Miller, a successful attorney from Macon, Georgia has devoted his life to making changes where he sees injustice. Recently, one of those changes, he was instrumental in making was getting the infamous “n-word” stricken from the dictionary produced by Funk & Wagnall.
Black News reported that Miller was inspired to get the racial slur removed after his niece read a new copy of the dictionary and discovered the word was included.
“Around Christmas of 1993, my sister purchased the new edition of Funk & Wagnalls Standard Desk Dictionary for my 13-year old niece at a grocery store in Macon, Georgia. I visited my niece on March 6, 1994, and she appeared sad and depressed. My niece told me she no longer wanted the books,” Miller said of the incident. “Knowing how excited she was when she first got them, I was puzzled at the change in her attitude and asked why. She told me and I immediately understood.”
It wasn’t just that the word was included, but the definition applied to the word that sparked Miller’s anger: “nigger n. A negro or member of any dark-skinned people; a vulgar and offensive term (See Negro).”
Miller said, “When I read the definition, I was outraged. I immediately realized that the old definition that applied the N-word to any race had changed. The change only gave a description, not a definition. It merely suggested to the reader that if you don’t know what a Nigger is, just look at a Negro or dark-skinned person and you’ll find out.”
He continued, “Why confuse a child of any color with this definition? Children are pure at heart and not responsible for bad relationships of the past. No child should ever have to wonder whether or not he or she is a nigger.”
Miller sent a letter to Funk & Wagnall on March 17, 1994, and made his case for why the word should be removed from future printings of the dictionary they published. He got a response dated on from Leon L. Bram, Vice President & Editorial Director, agreeing to remove the word. In his response, Bram wrote, “Mr. Miller, your niece is fortunate in having an uncle as concerned and caring as you.”