Green’s Dictionary of Slang

nigger-driver n.

also darkey-driver
[fig. use of nigger n.1 (1)]

an employer who works his men excessively hard; used orig. of white slavemasters; also attrib.

[UK]Harmonicon 8 350: His late Majesty ‘had all the antipathy of a Virginia nigger-driver to blacks,’ and would not admit "even persons of colour into his presence’.
[Aus]Sydney Herald 18 June 4/1: Lord how you does bamboozle them ere flats and swells [...] , to turn nigger drivers.
[US]Jefferson Republican (Stroudsburg, PA) 11 July 1/1: May all the nigger drivers, kidnapers, and mobbers of missouri be placed in a stone canoe [...] in the middle of the sea.
[US]Anti-Slavery Bugle (New Lisbon, OH) 2 Feb. 1/1: He himself has been a ‘nigger-driver’.
[Aus]Bell’s Life in Sydney 7 Feb. 3/3: You b— niggor driver, you have not got your property yet, nor will you get it as you think.
[US]Charleston Dly News (SC) 23 May 1/2: O, de ole nigger driver! / O gwine away! / [...] / Nigger-driver second devil / O gwine away!
[Aus]C. Money Knocking About in N.Z. 124: The ganger was a nigger-driver of the worst type.
[UK]A. Griffiths Fast and Loose III 199: A real darkey-driver, had to do with niggers somewhere, and he kept us at it [...] till we hadn’t an ounce of flesh left amongst the lot of us. [Ibid.] 218: Keep your eye on the nigger-driver—tell me if you see him nod.
[UK]Glasgow Herald 1 Oct. 10/3: The president of the unions [...] said that [...] rendered necessary abolishing the ‘nigger-driver’.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 24 June 1/4: There’s Grainomalt, an honest brewer, / Bung’s boss and nigger-driver.
[Aus]H. Lawson ‘The Babies in the Bush’ in Roderick (1972) 403: He was reckoned a mean ‘boss’, and rather a nigger-driver.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 22 Nov. 15/4: Bull swears at his men personally and offensively, whereas, though Jonathan is a real nigger-driver, his ‘language’ is directed at the work, and not at the men.
[NZ]Otago Witness (NZ) 24 May 82/3: He was a hard man to work for - a nigger driver, - and was well hated by every man in camp.
[UK]J. Buchan Greenmantle (1930) 255: He liked the way I kept the men up to their work, for I hadn’t been a nigger-driver for nothing.
[US]Beaver Herald (OK) 19 June 5/1: I’ve stood your domineerin’, nigger-driver ways long enough.
[UK]Chelmsford Chron. 7 Oct. 3/5: What do you want, you nigger-driver?
[UK]Derby Dly Teleg. 19 June 5/4: Mr Jackson [...] was a brilliant organiser, a ‘nigger-driver’ who worked with the ‘nigger’ and a financier.
[UK]G.D.H. & M. Cole Counter-point Murder 45: Nigger driver—never gave a chap a chance.
[Aus]I.L. Idriess Opium Smugglers 260: I bet that Jap skipper is a nigger-driver.

In derivatives

nigger-driving (n.) (orig. US black)

1. the working of blacks to exhaustion by white bosses, also attrib.

[UK]New Mthly Mag. 114 241: They shan’t have nigger-driving here, anyhow. Our News (a paper so called) shows them up now and then.
W. Thomson-Gregg Desperate Character II 23: ‘At New Orleans, where I was nigger-driving, a few years ago: wish I’d stuck to it.’ ‘To nigger-driving!’ the brothers were staunch abolitionists.
[UK]Star 9 Feb. 4/5: The plantation had a singularly bad name for nigger-driving.
[Aus]Truth (Sydney) 29 July 1/1: A month’s gaol for calling blackleg shearers ‘scabs’ is pretty rough, but scarcely more than one could expect from a nigger-driving province like Queensland.
[[US]C. Panzram Journal of Murder in Gaddis & Long (2002) 84: I worked driving niggers for the Sinclair Company].
[US]R. Klein Jailhouse Jargon and Street Sl. [unpub. ms.].

2. any boss-employee relationship characterized by poor treatment.

Qly Review 123 178: [note] ‘That master,’ said a witness, carries a whip, which he uses pretty freely.’ The parent of one of the boys described it as ‘nigger-driving’.
[UK]G.R. Sims Three Brass Balls 175: In the worst days of American slavery never was there such nigger-driving as that practised systematically by the wholesale drapery trade.
[UK]Essex Newsman 16 Feb. 2/6: The Coroner: This is very like ‘nigger-driving’. What time do you get to bed at night? [Boy] Witness: I get up at 5.30 and go to bed about eleven o’clock. [Cries of ‘Disgraceful’ from the jurymen].
J.W. Holmes Voyaging; Fifty Years on the Seven Seas in Sail (1972) 73: It is very doubtful if Hawkins, with all his nigger-driving, really got any more out of the men.
nigger-driving (adj.)

highly exploitative; also as v. nigger-drive (see cite 1901).

[[US]N. Ames Mariner’s Sketches 103: Negro-driving skippers of merchantmen].
[US]J.R. Lowell Biglow Papers (1880) 4: But my narves it kind o’ grates, / When I see the overreachin’ / O’ them nigger-drivin’ States.
[US]L. Oliphant Minnesota and the Far West 274: A parcel of blood-sucking nigger-driving Southerners.
[UK]Worcs. Chron. 31 Aug. 1/3: The niggerdriving patriot may possibly have been allured from among a people who do not appear to have appreciated him.
[UK]Sins of the Cities of the Plain 68: I am sure they keep you on your legs long enough in those nigger-driving shops.
[UK]Leicester Chron. 28 June 12/5: No nigger-driving screws trying which could get the most work out of fewest men.
Chefiield Eve. Teleg. 22 Apr. 2/4: [headline] ‘Nigger-Driving’ Vicars. Curates in Revolt.
[Aus]Bulletin (Sydney) 17 Feb. 18/3: Pity the sorrows of the poor compositor. A nigger-driving newspaper proprietor [...] was in Sydney lately looking for hands to do 80 hours work per week for 30s. And he got them!
[UK]Luton Times 22 Feb. 3/5: Boys require rest and recreation, and you have debarred him from getting this by nigger-driving him.
[Aus]Sydney Sportsman (Surry Hills, NSW) 30 Jan. 3/7: Kept me going morn and evening, stoker to H.M.S. Hell, / Nigger drove me daily.
[UK]Manchester Eve. News 6 Feb. 4/2: Forty-eight hours a week is a very different matter, and fits in with their nigger-driving schemes.
[Aus]Sun. Times (Perth) 24 Jan. 1/1: A somewhat recent Wellington-st. hashouse is run on nigger-driving lines.
[Aus]‘William Hatfield’ Sheepmates 192: That’s nigger-dhrivin’ bosses to rout us out of ourr warrm nap wid his daylight! beforre the starrs is aff the shky!
J.M. Baker Henry Crabb Robinson 23: A mob of dollar-hunting, nigger-driving, speech-delivering Bible-quoting Yankees.