To expand on the proper usage of "miss" as a title, one must understand some basic elements of race relations in the American South. Let's imagine a hypothetical 19th Century family, the Wilsons, consisting of a father (Jack), a mother (Joan), two daughters (Bess and Sadie), and Daisy, a female slave who serves as a housekeeper (whose surname may or may not be Wilson, or depending on historical context, may not even have a surname).

In this house, the women are Mrs. Wilson (or Mrs. Jack Wilson if there are two Messrs. Wilson in town), Miss Wilson (the eldest daughter), Miss Sadie Wilson (the younger daughter), and Miss Daisy or just Daisy to children and adults respectively. Regardless of her last name, the housekeeper, by virtue of being a slave, is not permitted the dignity of a title and a last name, and so at best is called "Miss first name." In this situation, calling Daisy "Miss Daisy" was a sign of deference to her age, and a sign of good manners for a younger stranger or a fellow slave, but doesn't really denote any additional respect.

The subtle difference between "Miss Daisy" and "Miss Freeman" (let us assume now that Daisy has been freed, and chosen a new surname to begin her life anew) is still present in the American South. If you meet an African-American woman in America, whatever form of address you're accustomed to, try to adapt to a usage that will not insult her: "Miss Freeman," "Ma'am," or "Daisy" if you're friends, but never "Miss Daisy," especially if asking a favor or delegating a task. The insult is subtle, but cuts deep, as this form of address is still used with some housekeepers today, and retains its dehumanizing overtone.