noun, plural darkies. Older Use: Now Offensive.
a term used to refer to a black person.
The earliest uses of darky
in English were sentimental, probably affectionate in intent, although it is likely that even then, those who were addressed or referred to by the term found it patronizing. For example, the lyrics of Stephen Foster's song My Old Kentucky Home
(1853) refer with nostalgia to happy darkies. But by the early part of the 20th century, the term had became increasingly offensive and unacceptable. Current versions of the Foster lyrics refer instead to “people.”