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African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an
ethnic group An ethnic group or ethnicity is a grouping of people A people is any plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousn ...
of
Americans Americans are the Citizenship of the United States, citizens and United States nationality law, nationals of the United States of America.; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 2018) ("Citizenship and nationality a ...
with total or partial ancestry from any of the
black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption of visible light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by t ...
racial groups of
Africa Africa is the world's second-largest and second-most populous continent, after Asia in both cases. At about 30.3 million km2 (11.7 million square miles) including adjacent islands, it covers 6% of Earth's total surface area and 20% of i ...

Africa
. The term ''African American'' generally denotes descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States, while some recent black immigrants or their children may also come to identify as African-American or may identify differently. African Americans constitute the third largest ethnic group and the second largest racial group in the US, after
White Americans White Americans are Americans who identify as and are perceived to be white people. This group constitutes the majority of the people in the United States. As of the 2020 Census, 61.6%, or 204,277,273 people, were white alone, and 71.0%, or 235 ...
and
Hispanic and Latino Americans Hispanic and Latino Americans ( es, Estadounidenses hispanos y latinos; pt, Estadunidenses hispânicos e latinos) are Americans Americans are the and of the .; ; ''Ricketts v. Attorney General''897 F.3d 491, 494 n.3 (3d Cir. 2018) ( ...
. Most African Americans are descendants of enslaved people within the boundaries of the present United States. On average, African Americans are of
West 250px, A compass rose with west highlighted in black West or Occident is one of the four cardinal directions or points of the compass The points of the compass are the vectors by which planet-based directions are conventionally defined. A co ...

West
/
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...

Central
African and European descent, and some also have
Native American Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
ancestry. According to U.S. Census Bureau data, African immigrants generally do not self-identify as African American. The overwhelming majority of African immigrants identify instead with their own respective ethnicities (≈95%). Immigrants from some
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ; es, Caribe; french: Caraïbes; ht, Karayib; also gcf, label=Antillean Creole Antillean Creole (Antillean French Creole, Kreyol, Kwéyòl, Patois) is a French-based creole, which is primarily spoken in the Lesser Antilles ...
,
Central American Central America ( es, América Central, , ''Centroamérica'' ) is a region of the Americas The Americas (also collectively called America) is a landmass comprising the totality of North and South America South America is a c ...
, and
South American South America is a continent A continent is one of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, up to seven regions are commonly regarded as continents. Ordered f ...
nations and their descendants may or may not also self-identify with the term.
African-American historyAfrican-American history is a part of American history The history of the United States started with the arrival of Native Americans in North America around 15,000 BC. Native American cultures in the United States, Numerous indigenous cultures fo ...
began in the 17th century, with Africans from
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania ...

West Africa
being sold to European slave traders and transported across the Atlantic to the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
. After arriving in the Americas, they were sold as slaves to European colonists and put to work on
plantation A plantation is a large-scale estate, generally centered on a plantation house, meant for farming that specializes in cash crops. The crops that are grown include cotton, coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar cane, opium, sisal, oil seeds, oil pa ...

plantation
s, particularly in the southern colonies. A few were able to achieve freedom through manumission or escape and founded independent communities before and during the
American Revolution The American Revolution was an ideological and political revolution which occurred in colonial North America between 1765 and 1783. The Americans in the Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colo ...
. After the United States was founded in 1783, most black people continued to be enslaved, being mostly concentrated in the
American South The Southern United States, also referred to as the Southern States, the American South, Dixie, the Southland, or simply the South, is a geographic and cultural region In geography Geography (from Greek: , ''geographia'', literally ...
, with four million enslaved only liberated during and at the end of the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
in 1865. Due to
white supremacy White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other Race (human classification), races and thus should dominate them. The belief favors the maintenance and defense of any Power (social and poli ...
, most were treated as
second-class citizen A second-class citizen is a person who is systematically discriminated against within a state or other political jurisdiction, despite their nominal status as a citizen or legal resident there. While not necessarily slaves, outlaws or cri ...
s. The
Naturalization Act of 1790 The Naturalization Act of 1790 (, enacted March 26, 1790) was a law of the United States Congress that set the first uniform rules for the granting of Citizenship of the United States, United States citizenship by naturalization. The law limit ...
limited U.S. citizenship to whites only, and only white men who owned property could vote.Leland T. Saito (1998). "Race and Politics: Asian Americans, Latinos, and Whites in a Los Angeles Suburb". p. 154. University of Illinois Press These circumstances changed in
Reconstruction Reconstruction may refer to: Politics, history, and sociology *Reconstruction (law), the transfer of a company's (or several companies') business to a new company *''Perestroika'' (Russian for "reconstruction"), a late 20th century Soviet Union ...
, further development of the black community, participation in the great military conflicts of the United States, substantial migration out of the South, the elimination of legal
racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into race (human classification), racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the international crime of apartheid and a crimes against hum ...
, and the
civil rights movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the was preceded by a decades-long campaign by and their like-minded allies to end legalized , and in the United States. The movement has its origins in the during the late 19th century, although ...
which sought political and social freedom. In 2008,
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Barack Obama
became the first African American to be elected President of the United States.


History


Colonial era

The vast majority of those who were enslaved and transported in the
transatlantic slave trade The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of various enslaved African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** ...
were people from
Central Central is an adjective usually referring to being in the center (disambiguation), center of some place or (mathematical) object. Central may also refer to: Directions and generalised locations * Central Africa, a region in the centre of Africa ...
and
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Ivory Coast, Liberia, Mali, Mauritania ...

West Africa
, who had been sold by other West Africans, or by half-European "merchant princes" to European slave traders (with a small number being captured directly by the slave traders in coastal raids), who brought them to the Americas. The first African slaves arrived via
Santo Domingo , total_type = Total , population_density_km2 = auto , timezone = , area_code_type = Area codes , area_code = 809, 829, 849 , postal_code_type = Postal codes , postal_code = 10100–10699 () , website Ayuntamiento del Distrito Nac ...
to the
San Miguel de Gualdape San Miguel de Gualdape,Most modern scholars use San Miguel de Gualdape but occasionally spelled San Miguel de ''Guadalupe''. founded in 1526 by Spanish colonizer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón,In early 1521, Juan Ponce de León, Ponce de León had made a ...
colony (most likely located in the
Winyah Bay Winyah Bay is a coastal estuary An estuary is a partially enclosed coastal body of brackish water with one or more rivers or streams flowing into it, and with a free connection to the open sea. Estuaries form a transition zone between river env ...
area of present-day
South Carolina South Carolina () is a U.S. state, state in the coastal Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. It is bordered to the north by North Carolina, to the southeast by the Atlantic Ocean, and to the southwest by Georgia ...

South Carolina
), founded by Spanish explorer
Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón (c. 1480 – 18 October 1526) was a Spanish magistrate and explorer who in 1526 established the short-lived San Miguel de Gualdape colony, one of the first European attempts at a settlement in what is now the United States. ...
in 1526. The ill-fated colony was almost immediately disrupted by a fight over leadership, during which the slaves revolted and fled the colony to seek refuge among local
Native Americans Native Americans may refer to: Ethnic groups * Indigenous peoples of the Americas, the pre-Columbian peoples of North and South America and their descendants * Native Americans in the United States * Indigenous peoples in Canada, the indigenous p ...
. De Ayllón and many of the colonists died shortly afterwards of an epidemic and the colony was abandoned. The settlers and the slaves who had not escaped returned to
Haiti Haiti (; ht, Ayiti ; french: Haïti ), officially the Republic of Haiti (; ), and formerly known as Hayti, is a country located on the island of Hispaniola in the Greater Antilles archipelago of the Caribbean Sea, to the east of Cuba and J ...

Haiti
, whence they had come. The marriage between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from
Seville Seville (; es, Sevilla, Castilian Spanish , Andalusian Spanish (with yeísmo) ) is the capital and largest city of the Spain, Spanish autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Andalusia and the province of Seville. It is situated ...

Seville
and Miguel Rodríguez, a white
Segovia Segovia (, also , ) is a city in the autonomous communities of Spain, autonomous community of Castile and León, Spain. It is the capital and most populated municipality of the Province of Segovia. Segovia is in the Inner Plateau, near the norther ...

Segovia
n conquistador in 1565 in St. Augustine (Spanish Florida), is the first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in what is now the continental United States. The first recorded Africans in (including most of the future United States) were "20 and odd negroes" who came to Jamestown,
Virginia Virginia (), officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), '' ...
via Cape Comfort in August 1619 as
indentured servant Indentured servitude is a form of labor in which a person is contracted to work without salary for a specific number of years. The contract, called an "indenture", may be entered voluntarily for eventual compensation or debt repayment, or it may be ...
s. As many Virginian settlers began to die from harsh conditions, more and more Africans were brought to work as laborers. An indentured servant (who could be white or black) would work for several years (usually four to seven) without wages. The status of indentured servants in early Virginia and Maryland was similar to slavery. Servants could be bought, sold, or leased and they could be physically beaten for disobedience or running away. Unlike slaves, they were freed after their term of service expired or was bought out, their children did not inherit their status, and on their release from contract they received "a year's provision of corn, double apparel, tools necessary", and a small cash payment called "freedom dues". Africans could legally raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. They raised families, married other Africans and sometimes intermarried with Native Americans or European
settler A settler is a person who has migrated to an area and established a permanent residence there, often to colonize Colonization, or colonisation refers to large-scale population movements where the migrants maintain strong links with their or ...
s. By the 1640s and 1650s, several African families owned farms around Jamestown and some became wealthy by colonial standards and purchased indentured servants of their own. In 1640, the Virginia General Court recorded the earliest documentation of lifetime slavery when they sentenced John Punch, a Negro, to lifetime servitude under his master Hugh Gwyn for running away. In the
Spanish Florida Spanish Florida ( es, La Florida) was the first major European land claim and attempted settlement in North America during the European Age of Discovery The Age of Discovery, or the Age of Exploration (sometimes also, particularly regionally, Age ...
some Spanish married or had unions with Pensacola, Creek or
African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** People who are native to Africa, descendants of natives of Africa, or individuals who trace their ancestry to indigenous inhabitants of Africa *** Ethnic groups ...
women, both slave and free, and their descendants created a mixed-race population of
mestizo (; ; fem. ) is a racial classification used to refer to a person of a combined Ethnic groups in Europe, European and Indigenous peoples of the Americas, Indigenous American ancestry. The term was used as an ethnic/racial category for mixed-ra ...

mestizo
s and
mulatto Mulatto (, ) is a racial classification A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. The term was first used to refer to speakers of a common language ...

mulatto
s. The Spanish encouraged slaves from the
colony of Georgia The Province of Georgia (also Georgia Colony) was one of the Southern colonies in British America. It was the last of the Thirteen Colonies, thirteen original American colonies established by Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain in what later ...
to come to Florida as a refuge, promising freedom in exchange for conversion to
Catholicism The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ri ...

Catholicism
. issued a royal proclamation freeing all slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and accepted conversion and baptism. Most went to the area around St. Augustine, but escaped slaves also reached Pensacola. St. Augustine had mustered an all-black
militia A militia () is generally an army An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" eminine, ground force or land force is a fighting force that fights primarily on land. In the broadest sense, it is the land-b ...
unit defending Spanish Florida as early as 1683. One of the Dutch African arrivals, Anthony Johnson, would later own one of the first black "slaves", John Casor, resulting from the court ruling of a civil case.John Henderson Russell, ''The Free Negro In Virginia, 1619–1865''
Baltimore: Johns Hopkins Press, 1913, pp. 29–30, scanned text online.
The popular conception of a race-based slave system did not fully develop until the 18th century. The
Dutch West India Company The Dutch West India Company ( nl, Geoctrooieerde Westindische Compagnie, or GWC; ; en, Chartered West India Company) was a chartered company A chartered company is an association with investors or shareholder A shareholder (also known as s ...
introduced slavery in 1625 with the importation of eleven black slaves into
New Amsterdam New Amsterdam ( nl, Nieuw Amsterdam, or ) was a 17th-century Dutch settlement established at the southern tip of Manhattan Manhattan (), known regionally as the City and the urban core of the New York metropolitan area, is the most dense ...
(present-day
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
). All the colony's slaves, however, were freed upon its surrender to the English.
Massachusetts Massachusetts (, ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * T ...
was the first English colony to legally recognize slavery in 1641. In 1662, Virginia passed a law that children of enslaved women took the status of the mother, rather than that of the father, as under
common law In law, common law (also known as judicial precedent or judge-made law, or case law) is the body of law created by judges and similar quasi-judicial tribunals by virtue of being stated in written opinions. ''Black's Law Dictionary'' is the most-us ...
. This legal principle was called '' partus sequitur ventrum''.Taunya Lovell Banks, "Dangerous Woman: Elizabeth Key's Freedom Suit – Subjecthood and Racialized Identity in Seventeenth Century Colonial Virginia"
41 ''Akron Law Review'' 799 (2008), Digital Commons Law, University of Maryland Law School. Retrieved April 21, 2009
By an act of 1699, the colony ordered all free blacks deported, virtually defining as slaves all people of African descent who remained in the colony.William J. Wood, "The Illegal Beginning of American Slavery"
''ABA Journal'', 1970, American Bar Association
In 1670, the colonial assembly passed a law prohibiting free and baptized blacks (and Indians) from purchasing Christians (in this act meaning White Europeans) but allowing them to buy people "of their owne nation". In the
Spanish Louisiana Spanish Louisiana ( es, link=no, la Luisiana) was a governorate and administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1762 to 1801 that consisted of a vast territory in the center of North America North America is a cont ...
although there was no movement toward abolition of the African slave trade, Spanish rule introduced a new law called ''coartación'', which allowed slaves to buy their freedom, and that of others. Although some did not have the money to buy their freedom that government measures on slavery allowed a high number of free blacks. That brought problems to the Spaniards with the French Creoles who also populated Spanish Louisiana, French creoles cited that measure as one of the system's worst elements. First established in South Carolina in 1704, groups of armed white men—
slave patrol ' Slave patrols—traditionally known as patrollers, patterrollers, pattyrollers or paddy rollersVerner D. Mitchell, Cynthia Davis (2019). ''Encyclopedia of the Black Arts Movement''. p. 323. Rowman & Littlefield by enslaved persons of African des ...

slave patrol
s—were formed to monitor enslaved black people. Their function was to police slaves, especially fugitives. Slave owners feared that slaves might organize revolts or
slave rebellion A slave rebellion is an armed uprising by enslaved people, as a way of fighting for their freedom. Rebellions of enslaved people have occurred in nearly all societies that practice slavery or have practiced slavery in the past. A desire for freedo ...
s, so state militias were formed in order to provide a military command structure and discipline within the slave patrols so they could be used to detect, encounter, and crush any organized slave meetings which might lead to revolts or rebellions. The earliest African-American congregations and churches were organized before 1800 in both northern and southern cities following the Great Awakening. By 1775, Africans made up 20% of the population in the
American colonies#REDIRECT American colonies
{{Redirect category shell, {{R from ambiguous term {{R unprintworthy ...
, which made them the second largest ethnic group after
English Americans English Americans, or Anglo-Americans, are Americans whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England. In the 2019 American Community Survey, 23.59 million self-identified as being of English origin. The term is distinct from British Amer ...

English Americans
.


From the American Revolution to the Civil War

During the 1770s, Africans, both enslaved and free, helped rebellious American colonists secure their independence by defeating the British in the
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (1775–1783), also known as the Revolutionary War and the American War of Independence, was initiated by delegates from thirteen American colonies of British America British America comprised the colon ...
. African Americans and European Americans fought side by side and were fully integrated. Blacks played a role in both sides in the American Revolution. Activists in the Patriot cause included James Armistead,
Prince Whipple Prince Whipple (1750–1796) was an African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the Black people, black racial groups of ...
and
Oliver Cromwell Oliver Cromwell (25 April 15993 September 1658) was an English general and statesman who, first as a subordinate and later as Commander-in-Chief, led armies An army (from Latin ''arma'' "arms, weapons" via Old French ''armée'', "armed" e ...
. In the
Spanish Louisiana Spanish Louisiana ( es, link=no, la Luisiana) was a governorate and administrative district of the Viceroyalty of New Spain from 1762 to 1801 that consisted of a vast territory in the center of North America North America is a cont ...
, Governor
Bernardo de Gálvez'' Bernardo Vicente de Gálvez y Madrid, 1st Viscount of Galveston, 1st Count of Gálvez (23 July 1746 – 30 November 1786) was a Military history of Spain, Spanish military leader and colonial administrator who served as List of colonial governo ...

Bernardo de Gálvez
organized Spanish free black men into two militia companies to defend
New Orleans New Orleans (,New Orleans
Merriam-Webster.
; french: La Nouvelle-Orléans ) is a Consolidat ...

New Orleans
during the American Revolution. They fought in the 1779 battle in which Spain captured
Baton Rouge Baton Rouge ( ; ) is the of the of . On the eastern bank of the , it is the of , the most-populous in Louisiana. Since 2019, the city of Baton Rouge has been the in the United States, and in Louisiana after . It is also the . As of the 's ...

Baton Rouge
from the British. Gálvez also commanded them in campaigns against the British outposts in Mobile,
Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = "Alabama (state song), Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg , seat = Montgomery, Alabama, Montgomery , LargestCity = Birmin ...

Alabama
, and
Pensacola Pensacola () is the westernmost city in the Florida Panhandle The Florida Panhandle (also West Florida and Northwest Florida) is the northwestern part of the U.S. state of Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeas ...
, Florida, he recruited slaves for the militia by pledging to free anyone who was seriously wounded and promised to secure a low price for ''coartación'' (buy their freedom and that of others) for those who received lesser wounds. During the 1790s, Governor Francisco Luis Héctor, baron of Carondelet reinforced local fortifications and recruit even more free blackmen for the militia. Carondelet doubled the number of free blackmen who served, creating two more militia companies—one made up of black members and the other of
pardo ''Pardo'' (feminine ''parda'') is a term used in the former Portuguese Portuguese may refer to: * anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Portugal ** Portuguese cuisine, traditional foods ** Portuguese language, a Romance lan ...

pardo
(mixed race). Serving in the militia brought free blackmen one step closer to equality with whites, allowing them, for example, the right to carry arms and boosting their earning power. However actually these privileges distanced free blackmen from enslaved blacks and encouraged them to identify with whites. Slavery had been tacitly enshrined in the
U.S. Constitution The Constitution of the United States is the Supremacy Clause, supreme law of the United States, United States of America. This founding document, originally comprising seven articles, delineates the national frame of government. Its first t ...
through provisions such as Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, commonly known as the 3/5 compromise. Slavery, which by then meant almost exclusively black people, was the most important political issue in the antebellum United States, leading to one crisis after another. Among these were the
Missouri Compromise The Missouri Compromise (March 6, 1820) was a United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or America, is a country in . It consists of 50 , a , five major , 326 , and som ...

Missouri Compromise
, the
Compromise of 1850 The Compromise of 1850 was a package of five separate bills passed by the United States Congress in September 1850 that defused a political confrontation between slave and free states on the status of Mexican Cession, territories acquired in th ...
, the
Fugitive Slave Act Fugitives are often profiled in the media in order to be apprehended, such as in the TV show '' America's Most Wanted''. A fugitive (or runaway) is a person who is fleeing from custody, whether it be from jail, a government arrest An ...
, and the
Dred Scott decision ''Dred Scott v. Sandford'', 60 U.S. (19 How.) 393 (1857), often referred to as the Dred Scott decision, was a landmark decision Landmark court decisions, in present-day common law legal systems, establish precedents that determine a significan ...
. Prior to the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
, eight serving presidents owned slaves, a practice protected by the U.S. Constitution. By 1860, there were 3.5 to 4.4 million enslaved black people in the U.S. due to the
Atlantic slave trade The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of various enslaved African African(s) may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent of Africa: ** ...
, and another 488,000–500,000 blacks lived free (with legislated limits)"Background on conflict in Liberia"
Friends Committee on National Legislation, July 30, 2003
across the country. With legislated limits imposed upon them in addition to "unconquerable prejudice" from whites according to
Henry Clay Henry Clay Sr. (April 12, 1777June 29, 1852) was an American attorney Attorney may refer to: Roles * Attorney at law, an official title of lawyers in some jurisdictions * Attorney general, the principal legal officer of (or advisor to) a gove ...

Henry Clay
, some black people who were not enslaved left the U.S. for
Liberia Liberia (), officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations defines Western Africa as the 17 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape ...

Liberia
in West Africa. Liberia began as a settlement of the
American Colonization Society American Colonization Society (ACS), originally known as the The Society for the Colonization of Free People of Color of America, was founded in 1816 by Robert Finley to encourage and support the migration of free African Americans to the con ...
(ACS) in 1821, with the abolitionist members of the ACS believing blacks would face better chances for freedom and equality in Africa. The slaves not only constituted a large investment, they produced America's most valuable product and export:
cotton Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective case, around the seeds of the cotton plants of the genus '' Gossypium'' in the mallow family Malvaceae. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. Under natural condition ...

cotton
. They not only helped build the , they built the
White House The White House is the official residence and workplace of the president of the United States. It is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue Northwest, Washington, D.C., NW in Washington, D.C., and has been the residence of every U.S. preside ...

White House
and other
District of Columbia ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk within the National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscape ...

District of Columbia
buildings. (
Washington Washington commonly refers to: * Washington (state), United States * Washington, D.C., the capital of the United States ** Federal government of the United States (metonym) ** Washington metropolitan area, the metropolitan area centered on Washingt ...
was a slave trading center.) Similar building projects existed in slaveholding states. In 1863, during the
American Civil War The American Civil War (also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States from 1861 to 1865, fought between northern U.S. state, states loyal to the Union (American Civil War), Union and sout ...
, President
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

Abraham Lincoln
signed the
Emancipation Proclamation The Emancipation Proclamation, or Proclamation 95, was a presidential proclamation The text of presidential proclamation 9552 of December 9, 2016 regarding the lowering of flags because of the death of John Glenn, as published in the Feder ...

Emancipation Proclamation
. The proclamation declared that all slaves in Confederate-held territory were free. Advancing Union troops enforced the proclamation, with Texas being the last state to be emancipated, in 1865. Slavery in Union-held Confederate territory continued, at least on paper, until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Prior to the Civil War, only white men of property could vote, and the
Naturalization Act of 1790 The Naturalization Act of 1790 (, enacted March 26, 1790) was a law of the United States Congress that set the first uniform rules for the granting of Citizenship of the United States, United States citizenship by naturalization. The law limit ...
limited U.S. citizenship to whites only. The 14th Amendment (1868) gave black people citizenship, and the 15th Amendment (1870) gave black males the right to vote (only males could vote in the U.S. at the time).


Reconstruction era and Jim Crow

African Americans quickly set up congregations for themselves, as well as schools and community/civic associations, to have space away from white control or oversight. While the post-war Reconstruction era was initially a time of progress for African Americans, that period ended in 1876. By the late 1890s, Southern states enacted Jim Crow laws to enforce
racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into race (human classification), racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the international crime of apartheid and a crimes against hum ...
and
disenfranchisement Disfranchisement, also called disenfranchisement, or voter disqualification is the restriction of suffrage Suffrage, political franchise, or simply franchise, is the right to vote in public, political elections (although the term is sometime ...
. Segregation, which began with slavery, continued with Jim Crow laws, with signs used to show blacks where they could legally walk, talk, drink, rest, or eat.Leon Litwack, ''Jim Crow Blues'', Magazine of History (OAH Publications, 2004) For those places that were racially mixed, non-whites had to wait until all white customers were dealt with. Most African Americans obeyed the Jim Crow laws, to avoid
racially motivated violence Ethnic violence is a form of political violence expressly motivated by ethnic hatred and ethnic conflict. Forms of ethnic violence which can be argued to have the character of terrorism may be known as ethnic terrorism or ethnically-motivated ter ...
. To maintain self-esteem and dignity, African Americans such as
Anthony Overton Anthony Overton Jr. (March 21, 1865 – July 2, 1946), a banker and manufacturer, was the first African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial anc ...
and
Mary McLeod Bethune Mary Jane McLeod Bethune (born Mary Jane McLeod; July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955) was an American educator, stateswoman, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, and civil rights activist. Bethune founded the National Council for Negro Women in 19 ...

Mary McLeod Bethune
continued to build their own
schools A school is an educational institution An educational institution is a place where people of different ages gain an education, including preschools, childcare, primary-elementary schools, secondary-high schools, and universities. They provi ...
, churches, banks, social clubs, and other businesses. In the last decade of the 19th century, racially discriminatory laws and racial violence aimed at African Americans began to mushroom in the United States, a period often referred to as the "
nadir of American race relations The nadir of American race relations was the period in African-American historyAfrican-American history is a part of American history that looks at the history of African Americans or Black Americans in the country. Of the 10.7 million African ...
". These discriminatory acts included racial segregation—upheld by the United States Supreme Court decision in ''
Plessy v. Ferguson ''Plessy v. Ferguson'', 163 U.S. 537 (1896), was a List of landmark court decisions in the United States, landmark decision of the Supreme Court of the United States, U.S. Supreme Court in which the Court ruled that racial segregation laws did ...
'' in 1896—which was legally mandated by southern states and nationwide at the local level of government, voter suppression or disenfranchisement in the southern states, denial of economic opportunity or resources nationwide, and private acts of violence and mass racial violence aimed at African Americans unhindered or encouraged by government authorities.


Great migration and civil rights movement

The desperate conditions of African Americans in the South sparked the Great Migration during the first half of the 20th century which led to a growing African-American community in Northern and Western United States. The rapid influx of blacks disturbed the racial balance within Northern and Western cities, exacerbating hostility between both blacks and whites in the two regions. The
Red Summer Red Summer is the period from late winter through early autumn of 1919 during which and took place in more than three dozen cities across the , as well as in one rural county in . The term "Red Summer" was coined by and author , who had b ...
of 1919 was marked by hundreds of deaths and higher casualties across the U.S. as a result of race riots that occurred in more than three dozen cities, such as the
Chicago race riot of 1919 The Chicago race riot of 1919 was a violent racial conflict started by white Americans against black Americans that began on the South Side of Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption ...
and the
Omaha race riot of 1919 The Omaha race riot occurred in Omaha Omaha ( ) is the largest city in the U.S. state of Nebraska and the county seat of Douglas County, Nebraska, Douglas County. Omaha is in the Midwestern United States on the Missouri River, about north ...
. Overall, blacks in Northern and Western cities experienced
systemic discrimination Institutional racism, also known as systemic racism, is a form of racism that is embedded through laws within society or an organization. It can lead to such issues as discrimination in criminal justice, employment, housing, health care, politica ...
in a plethora of aspects of life. Within employment, economic opportunities for blacks were routed to the lowest-status and restrictive in potential mobility. At the 1900 Hampton Negro Conference, Reverend Matthew Anderson said: "...the lines along most of the avenues of wage earning are more rigidly drawn in the North than in the South." Within the housing market, stronger discriminatory measures were used in correlation to the influx, resulting in a mix of "targeted violence,
restrictive covenants A covenant, in its most general sense and covenant (historical), historical sense, is a solemn promise to engage in or refrain from a specified action. Under historical English common law a covenant was distinguished from an ordinary contract by th ...
,
redlining Redlining is the systematic denial of various services or goods by governments or the private sector either directly or through the selective raising of prices. The word itself is rooted back to the early 1930's after the color correlating prope ...
and racial steering". While many whites defended their space with violence, intimidation, or legal tactics toward African Americans, many other whites migrated to more racially homogeneous suburban or exurban regions, a process known as
white flight White flight or white exodus is the sudden or gradual large-scale migration of from areas becoming more racially or ethnoculturally diverse. Starting in the 1950s and 1960s, the terms became popular in the . They referred to the large-scale mi ...
. Despite discrimination, drawing cards for leaving the hopelessness in the South were the growth of African-American institutions and communities in Northern cities. Institutions included black oriented organizations (e.g.,
Urban League The National Urban League, formerly known as the National League on Urban Conditions Among Negroes, is a nonpartisan historic civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights that protect individuals' political freedom, freedom fro ...
,
NAACP The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement ...
), churches, businesses, and newspapers, as well as successes in the development in African-American intellectual culture, music, and popular culture (e.g.,
Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater and politics centered in Harlem Harlem is a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, New York City. It is bounded ro ...
,
Chicago Black Renaissance The Chicago Black Renaissance (also known as the Black Chicago Renaissance) was a creative movement that blossomed out of the Chicago Black Belt on the city's South Side and spanned the 1930s and 1940s before a transformation in art and culture t ...
). The
Cotton Club The Cotton Club was a New York City nightclub from 1923 to 1940. It was located on 142nd Street and Lenox Avenue (1923-1936), then briefly in the midtown Theater District, Manhattan, Theater District (1936-1940).Elizabeth Winter"Cotton Club o ...
in Harlem was a whites-only establishment, with blacks (such as
Duke Ellington Edward Kennedy "Duke" Ellington (April 29, 1899 – May 24, 1974) was an American composer, pianist, and leader of a jazz orchestra A big band is a type of musical ensemble of jazz music that usually consists of ten or more musicians with fou ...

Duke Ellington
) allowed to perform, but to a white audience. Black Americans also found a new ground for political power in Northern cities, without the enforced disabilities of
Jim Crow Jim or JIM may refer to: * Jim, a diminutive form of the given name James (name), James * Jim, a short form of the given name Jimmy (given name), Jimmy * OPCW-UN Joint Investigative Mechanism * Jim (comics), ''Jim'' (comics), a series by Jim Woodri ...

Jim Crow
. By the 1950s, the
civil rights movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the was preceded by a decades-long campaign by and their like-minded allies to end legalized , and in the United States. The movement has its origins in the during the late 19th century, although ...
was gaining momentum. A 1955 lynching that sparked public outrage about injustice was that of
Emmett Till Emmett Louis Till (July 25, 1941August 28, 1955) was a 14-year-old African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of th ...
, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago. Spending the summer with relatives in
Money, Mississippi Money is an unincorporated Mississippi Delta community near Greenwood in Leflore County, Mississippi, United States. It has fewer than 100 residents, down from 400 in the early 1950s when a cotton mill operated there. Money is located on a rai ...
, Till was killed for allegedly having wolf-whistled at a white woman. Till had been badly beaten, one of his eyes was gouged out, and he was shot in the head. The visceral response to his mother's decision to have an open-casket funeral mobilized the black community throughout the U.S. Vann R. Newkirk, wrote "the trial of his killers became a pageant illuminating the tyranny of
white supremacy White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other Race (human classification), races and thus should dominate them. The belief favors the maintenance and defense of any Power (social and poli ...
". The state of Mississippi tried two defendants, but they were speedily acquitted by an
all-white jury Racial discrimination in jury selection is specifically prohibited by law in many jurisdictions throughout the world. In the United States it has been defined through a series of judicial decisions. However, juries composed solely of one racial gr ...
. One hundred days after Emmett Till's murder,
Rosa Parks Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an American activist in the civil rights movement best known for her pivotal role in the Montgomery bus boycott. The United States Congress has called her "the first ...

Rosa Parks
refused to give up her seat on the bus in Alabama—indeed, Parks told Emmett's mother Mamie Till that "the photograph of Emmett's disfigured face in the casket was set in her mind when she refused to give up her seat on the Montgomery bus." The
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, also known as simply the March on Washington or The Great March on Washington, was held in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. The purpose of the march was to advocate for the civil and eco ...

March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
and the conditions which brought it into being are credited with putting pressure on presidents
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
and
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
. Johnson put his support behind passage of the
Civil Rights Act of 1964 The Civil Rights Act of 1964 () is a landmark civil rights and United States labor law, labor law in the United States that outlaws discrimination based on Race (human categorization), race, Person of color, color, religion, sex, national or ...
that banned discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and
labor unions A trade union (or a labor union in American English), often simply referred to as a union, is an organization of workers who have come together to achieve common goals, such as protecting the integrity of their trade, improving safety standard ...
, and the
Voting Rights Act Voting is a method for a group, such as a meeting or an Constituency, electorate, in order to make a collective decision making, decision or express an opinion usually following discussions, debates or election campaigns. Democracy, Democracie ...
of 1965, which expanded federal authority over states to ensure black political participation through protection of voter registration and elections. By 1966, the emergence of the
Black Power Black Power is a political slogan The following is a list of notable 18th, 19th, 20th and 21st-century political slogan A slogan is a memorable motto or phrase used in a clan, political slogan, political, Advertising slogan, commercial, re ...

Black Power
movement, which lasted from 1966 to 1975, expanded upon the aims of the civil rights movement to include economic and political self-sufficiency, and freedom from white authority. During the post-war period, many African Americans continued to be economically disadvantaged relative to other Americans. Average black income stood at 54 percent of that of white workers in 1947, and 55 percent in 1962. In 1959, median family income for whites was $5,600, compared with $2,900 for nonwhite families. In 1965, 43 percent of all black families fell into the poverty bracket, earning under $3,000 a year. The Sixties saw improvements in the social and economic conditions of many black Americans.The Unfinished Journey: America Since World War II by William H. Chafe From 1965 to 1969, black family income rose from 54 to 60 percent of white family income. In 1968, 23 percent of black families earned under $3,000 a year, compared with 41 percent in 1960. In 1965, 19 percent of black Americans had incomes equal to the national median, a proportion that rose to 27 percent by 1967. In 1960, the median level of education for blacks had been 10.8 years, and by the late Sixties the figure rose to 12.2 years, half a year behind the median for whites.


Post–civil rights era

Politically and economically, African Americans have made substantial strides during the post–civil rights era. In 1968,
Shirley Chisholm Shirley Anita Chisholm (; November 30, 1924 – January 1, 2005) was an American politician, educator, and author. In 1968, she became the first black woman elected to the United States Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress ...

Shirley Chisholm
became the first Black woman elected to the
U.S. Congress The United States Congress or U.S. Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States and consists of the House of Representatives and the Senate. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Wa ...

U.S. Congress
. In 1989, Douglas Wilder became the first African American elected governor in U.S. history. Clarence Thomas became the second African-American Supreme Court Justice. In 1992, Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois became the first African-American woman elected to the United States Senate, U.S. Senate. There were 8,936 black officeholders in the United States in 2000, showing a net increase of 7,467 since 1970. In 2001, there were 484 black mayors. In 2005, the number of Africans immigrating to the United States, in a single year, surpassed the peak number who were involuntarily brought to the United States during the Atlantic Slave Trade. On November 4, 2008, Democratic Party (United States), Democratic United States Senator, Senator
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Barack Obama
2008 United States presidential election, defeated Republican Party (United States), Republican Senator John McCain to become the first African American to be elected president. At least 95 percent of African-American voters voted for Obama. He also received overwhelming support from young and educated whites, a majority of Asian Americans, Asians, and Hispanic and Latino Americans, Hispanics, picking up a number of new states in the Democratic electoral column. Obama lost the overall white vote, although he won a larger proportion of white votes than any previous nonincumbent Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter. Obama was 2012 United States presidential election, reelected for a second and term limit, final term, by a similar margin on November 6, 2012. In 2021, Kamala Harris became the first woman, the first African American (and the first Asian American) to serve as Vice President of the United States.


Demographics

In 1790, when the first United States Census, U.S. Census was taken, Africans (including slaves and free people) numbered about 760,000—about 19.3% of the population. In 1860, at the start of the
Civil War A civil war, also known as an intrastate war in polemology, is a war between organized groups within the same Sovereign state, state (or country). The aim of one side may be to take control of the country or a region, to achieve independen ...
, the African-American population had increased to 4.4 million, but the percentage rate dropped to 14% of the overall population of the country. The vast majority were slaves, with only 488,000 counted as "Freedman, freemen". By 1900, the black population had doubled and reached 8.8 million. In 1910, about 90% of African Americans lived in the South. Large numbers began migrating north looking for better job opportunities and living conditions, and to escape Jim Crow laws and racial violence. The Great Migration, as it was called, spanned the 1890s to the 1970s. From 1916 through the 1960s, more than 6 million black people moved north. But in the 1970s and 1980s, New Great Migration, that trend reversed, with more African Americans moving south to the Sun Belt than leaving it. The following table of the African-American population in the United States over time shows that the African-American population, as a percentage of the total population, declined until 1930 and has been rising since then. By 1990, the African-American population reached about 30 million and represented 12% of the U.S. population, roughly the same proportion as in 1900. At the time of the United States Census 2000, 2000 Census, 54.8% of African Americans lived in the Southern United States, South. In that year, 17.6% of African Americans lived in the Northeastern United States, Northeast and 18.7% in the Midwestern United States, Midwest, while only 8.9% lived in the Western United States, western states. The west does have a sizable black population in certain areas, however. California, the nation's most populous state, has the fifth largest African-American population, only behind New York, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. According to the 2000 Census, approximately 2.05% of Black Hispanic and Latino Americans, African Americans identified as Hispanic or Latino in origin, many of whom may be of Afro-Brazilian, Brazilian, Puerto Rican people, Puerto Rican, Dominican American, Dominican, Afro-Cuban, Cuban, Haitian Americans, Haitian, or other Afro-Latin American, Latin American descent. The only self-reported ''ancestral'' groups larger than African Americans are the Irish American, Irish and German Americans, Germans. According to the 2010 United States Census, 2010 U.S. Census, nearly 3% of people who self-identified as black had recent ancestors who immigrated from another country. Self-reported West Indian American, non-Hispanic black immigrants from the Caribbean, mostly from Jamaica and Haiti, represented 0.9% of the U.S. population, at 2.6 million."Total Ancestry Reported"
American FactFinder.
Self-reported black immigrants from Sub-Saharan Africa also represented 0.9%, at about 2.8 million. Additionally, self-identified Black Hispanic and Latino Americans, Black Hispanics represented 0.4% of the United States population, at about 1.2 million people, largely found within the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities. Self-reported black immigrants hailing from other countries in the Americas, such as Brazil and Canada, as well as several European countries, represented less than 0.1% of the population. Mixed-Race Hispanic and non-Hispanic Americans who identified as being part black, represented 0.9% of the population. Of the 12.6% of United States residents who identified as black, around 10.3% were "native black American" or ethnic African Americans, who are direct descendants of West/Central Africans brought to the U.S. as slaves. These individuals make up well over 80% of all blacks in the country. When including Multiracial American, people of mixed-race origin, about 13.5% of the U.S. population self-identified as black or "mixed with black". However, according to the U.S. census bureau, evidence from the 2000 Census indicates that many African and Caribbean immigrant ethnic groups do not identify as "Black, African Am., or Negro". Instead, they wrote in their own respective ethnic groups in the "Some Other Race" write-in entry. As a result, the census bureau devised a new, separate "African American" ethnic group category in 2010 for ethnic African Americans.


U.S. cities

After 100 years of African Americans leaving the south in large numbers seeking better opportunities and treatment in the west and north, a movement known as the Great Migration, there is now a reverse trend, called the New Great Migration. As with the earlier Great Migration, the New Great Migration is primarily directed toward cities and large urban areas, such as Atlanta, Charlotte, North Carolina, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Raleigh, North Carolina, Raleigh, Tampa, San Antonio, Memphis, Tennessee, Memphis, Nashville, Jacksonville, and so forth.Greg Toppo and Paul Overberg
"After nearly 100 years, Great Migration begins reversal"
''USA Today'', 2014.
A growing percentage of African-Americans from the west and north are migrating to the southern region of the U.S. for economic and cultural reasons.
New York City New York, often called New York City to distinguish it from New York State New York is a state State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of ...

New York City
, Chicago, and Los Angeles have the highest decline in African Americans, while Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston have the highest increase respectively. Among cities of 100,000 or more, Detroit, Detroit, Michigan had the highest percentage of black residents of any U.S. city in 2010, with 82%. Other large cities with African-American majorities include Jackson, Mississippi (79.4%), Miami Gardens, Florida (76.3%), Baltimore, Baltimore, Maryland (63%), Birmingham, Alabama (62.5%), Memphis, Tennessee (61%), New Orleans, New Orleans, Louisiana (60%), Montgomery, Alabama (56.6%), Flint, Michigan (56.6%), Savannah, Georgia (55.0%), Augusta, Georgia (54.7%), Atlanta, Atlanta, Georgia (54%, see African Americans in Atlanta), Cleveland, Ohio (53.3%), Newark, New Jersey (52.35%), Washington, D.C. (50.7%), Richmond, Virginia (50.6%), Mobile, Alabama (50.6%), Baton Rouge, Louisiana (50.4%), and Shreveport, Louisiana (50.4%). The nation's most affluent community with an African-American majority resides in View Park–Windsor Hills, California with an annual median household income of $159,618. Other largely affluent and African-American communities include Prince George's County, Maryland, Prince George's County in Maryland (namely Mitchellville, Maryland, Mitchellville, Woodmore, Maryland, Woodmore, and Upper Marlboro, Maryland, Upper Marlboro), DeKalb County, Georgia, Dekalb County and South Fulton, Georgia, South Fulton in Georgia, Charles City County, Virginia, Charles City County in Virginia, Baldwin Hills, Los Angeles, Baldwin Hills in California, Hillcrest, Rockland County, New York, Hillcrest and Uniondale, New York, Uniondale in New York, and Cedar Hill, Texas, Cedar Hill, DeSoto, Texas, DeSoto, and Missouri City, Texas, Missouri City in Texas. Queens, Queens County, New York is the only county with a population of 65,000 or more where African Americans have a higher median household income than White Americans. Seatack, Virginia is currently the oldest African-American community in the United States. It survives today with a vibrant and active civic community.


Education

In 1863, enslaved Americans became free citizens during a time when public educational systems were expanding across the country. By 1870, around seventy-four institutions in the south provided a form of advanced education for African American students, and by 1800, over a hundred programs at these schools provided training for Black professionals, including teachers. Many of the students at Fisk University, including W. E. B. Du Bois when he was a student there, taught school during the summers to support their studies. African Americans were very concerned to provide quality education for their children, but White supremacy limited their ability to participate in educational policymaking on the political level. State governments soon moved to undermine their citizenship by restricting their right to vote. By the late 1870s, Blacks were disenfranchised and segregated across the American South. White politicians in Mississippi and other states withheld financial resources and supplies from Black schools. Nevertheless, the presence of Black teachers, and their engagement with their communities both inside and outside the classroom, ensured that Black students had access to education despite these external constraints. Predominantly black schools for kindergarten through twelfth grade students were common throughout the U.S. before the 1970s. By 1972, however, desegregation efforts meant that only 25% of Black students were in schools with more than 90% non-white students. However, since then, a trend towards re-segregation affected communities across the country: by 2011, 2.9 million African-American students were in such overwhelmingly minority schools, including 53% of Black students in school districts that were formerly under desegregation orders. Historically black colleges and universities, Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs), which were originally set up when segregated colleges did not admit African Americans, continue to thrive and educate students of all races today. The majority of HBCUs were established in the southeastern United States, List of colleges and universities in Alabama, Alabama has the most HBCUs of any state. As late as 1947, about one third of African Americans over 65 were considered to lack the literacy to read and write their own names. By 1969, illiteracy as it had been traditionally defined, had been largely eradicated among younger African Americans. U.S. Census surveys showed that by 1998, 89 percent of African Americans aged 25 to 29 had completed a high-school education, less than whites or Asians, but more than Hispanics. On many college entrance, standardized tests and grades, African Americans have historically lagged behind whites, but some studies suggest that the Achievement gap in the United States, achievement gap has been closing. Many policy makers have proposed that this gap can and will be eliminated through policies such as affirmative action, desegregation, and multiculturalism. Between 1995 and 2009, freshmen college enrollment for African Americans increased by 73 percent and only 15 percent for whites. Black women are enrolled in college more than any other race and gender group, leading all with 9.7% enrolled according to the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau. The average high school graduation rate of blacks in the United States has steadily increased to 71% in 2013. Separating this statistic into component parts shows it varies greatly depending upon the state and the school district examined. 38% of black males graduated in the state of New York but in Maine 97% graduated and exceeded the white male graduation rate by 11 percentage points. In much of the southeastern United States and some parts of the southwestern United States the graduation rate of white males was in fact below 70% such as in Florida where 62% of white males graduated from high school. Examining specific school districts paints an even more complex picture. In the Detroit school district the graduation rate of black males was 20% but 7% for white males. In the New York City school district 28% of black males graduate from high school compared to 57% of white males. In Newark County 76% of black males graduated compared to 67% for white males. Further academic improvement has occurred in 2015. Roughly 23% of all blacks have bachelor's degrees. In 1988, 21% of whites had obtained a bachelor's degree versus 11% of blacks. In 2015, 23% of blacks had obtained a bachelor's degree versus 36% of whites. Foreign born blacks, 9% of the black population, made even greater strides. They exceed native born blacks by 10 percentage points.


Economic status

Economically, African Americans have benefited from the advances made during the civil rights era, particularly among the educated, but not without the lingering effects of historical marginalisation when considered as a whole. The Racial inequality in the United States, racial disparity in poverty rates has narrowed. The black middle class has grown substantially. In 2010, 45% of African Americans owned their homes, compared to 67% of all Americans. The African-American poverty, poverty rate among African Americans has decreased from 26.5% in 1998 to 24.7% in 2004, compared to 12.7% for all Americans. African Americans have a combined buying power of over $892 billion currently and likely over $1.1 trillion by 2012. In 2002, African American-owned businesses accounted for 1.2 million of the US's 23 million businesses. African American-owned businesses account for approximately 2 million US businesses. Black-owned businesses experienced the largest growth in number of businesses among minorities from 2002 to 2011. In 2004, African-American men had the third-highest earnings of American minority groups after Asian Americans and non-Hispanic whites. Twenty-five percent of blacks had white-collar worker, white-collar occupations (management, professional, and related fields) in 2000, compared with 33.6% of Americans overall. In 2001, over half of African-American households of married couples earned $50,000 or more. Although in the same year African Americans were over-represented among the nation's poor, this was directly related to the disproportionate percentage of African-American families headed by single women; such families are collectively poorer, regardless of ethnicity. In 2006, the median earnings of African-American men was more than black and non-black American women overall, and in all educational levels. At the same time, among American men, income disparities were significant; the median income of African-American men was approximately 76 cents for every dollar of their European American counterparts, although the gap narrowed somewhat with a rise in educational level. Overall, the median earnings of African-American men were 72 cents for every dollar earned of their Asian American counterparts, and $1.17 for every dollar earned by Hispanic men. On the other hand, by 2006, among American women with post-secondary education, African-American women have made significant advances; the median income of African-American women was more than those of their Asian-, European- and Hispanic American counterparts with at least some college education. The U.S. public sector is the single most important source of employment for African Americans. During 2008–2010, 21.2% of all Black workers were public employees, compared with 16.3% of non-Black workers. Both before and after the onset of the Great Recession, African Americans were 30% more likely than other workers to be employed in the public sector. The public sector is also a critical source of decent-paying jobs for Black Americans. For both men and women, the median wage earned by Black employees is significantly higher in the public sector than in other industries. In 1999, the median income of African-American families was $33,255 compared to $53,356 of European Americans. In times of economic hardship for the nation, African Americans suffer disproportionately from job loss and underemployment, with the black underclass being hardest hit. The phrase "last hired and first fired" is reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics unemployment figures. Nationwide, the October 2008 unemployment rate for African Americans was 11.1%, while the nationwide rate was 6.5%. The income gap between black and white families is also significant. In 2005, employed blacks earned 65% of the wages of whites, down from 82% in 1975. ''The New York Times'' reported in 2006 that in Queens, New York, the median income among African-American families exceeded that of white families, which the newspaper attributed to the growth in the number of two-parent black families. It noted that Queens was the only county with more than 65,000 residents where that was true. In 2011, it was reported that African-American family structure, 72% of black babies were born to unwed mothers.WASHINGTON, J. (2010). Blacks struggle with 72 percent unwed mothers rate. The poverty rate among single-parent black families was 39.5% in 2005, according to Walter E. Williams, while it was 9.9% among married-couple black families. Among white families, the respective rates were 26.4% and 6% in poverty. Collectively, African Americans are more involved in the American political process than other minority groups in the United States, indicated by the highest level of voter registration and participation in elections among these groups in 2004. African Americans collectively attain higher levels of education than immigrants to the United States. African Americans also have the highest level of United States Congress, Congressional representation of any minority group in the U.S.


Politics

Since the mid 20th century, a large majority of African Americans support the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party. In the 2004 United States presidential election, 2004 Presidential Election, Democrat John Kerry received 88% of the African-American vote compared to 11% for Republican Party (United States), Republican George W. Bush. Although there is an African-American lobby in foreign policy, it has not had the impact that African-American organizations have had in domestic policy. Many African Americans were excluded from electoral politics in the decades following the end of Reconstruction. For those that could participate, until the New Deal, African Americans were supporters of the Republican Party because it was Republican President Abraham Lincoln who helped in granting freedom to American slaves; at the time, the Republicans and Democrats represented the Sectionalism, sectional interests of the Northern United States, North and Southern United States, South, respectively, rather than any specific ideology, and both Conservatism in the United States, conservative and Modern liberalism in the United States, liberal were represented equally in both parties. The African-American trend of voting for Democrats can be traced back to the 1930s during the Great Depression, when Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program provided economic relief to African Americans. Roosevelt's New Deal coalition turned the Democratic Party into an organization of the working class and their liberal allies, regardless of region. The African-American vote became even more solidly Democratic when Democratic presidents
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the ...

John F. Kennedy
and
Lyndon B. Johnson Lyndon Baines Johnson (; August 27, 1908January 22, 1973), often referred to by his initials LBJ, was the 36th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government of the ...

Lyndon B. Johnson
pushed for civil rights legislation during the 1960s. In 1960, nearly a third of African Americans voted for Republican Richard Nixon.


Sexuality

According to a Gallup survey, 4.6% of black or African-Americans self-identified as LGBT rights in the United States, LGBT in 2016, while the total portion of American adults in all ethnic groups identifying as LGBT was 4.1% in 2016.


Health


General

The life expectancy for black men in 2008 was 70.8 years. Life expectancy for black women was 77.5 years in 2008. In 1900, when information on black life expectancy started being collated, a black man could expect to live to 32.5 years and a black woman 33.5 years. In 1900, white men lived an average of 46.3 years and white women lived an average of 48.3 years. African-American life expectancy at birth is persistently five to seven years lower than European Americans. Black men have shorter lifespans than any other group in the US besides Native American men. Black people have higher rates of obesity, diabetes, and hypertension than the U.S. average. For adult black men, the rate of obesity was 31.6% in 2010. For adult black women, the rate of obesity was 41.2% in 2010. African Americans have higher rates of mortality than any other racial or ethnic group for 8 of the top 10 causes of death. In 2013, among men, black men had the highest rate of getting cancer, followed by white, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander (A/PI), and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) men. Among women, white women had the highest rate of getting cancer, followed by black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander, and American Indian/Alaska Native women. Violence has an impact upon African-American life expectancy. A report from the U.S. Department of Justice states "In 2005, homicide victimization rates for blacks were 6 times higher than the rates for whites".Homicide trends in the U.S.
, U.S. Department of Justice
The report also found that "94% of black victims were killed by blacks." Black boys and men age 15–44 are the only race/sex category for which homicide is a top-five cause of death.


Sexual health

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, African Americans have higher rates of sexually transmitted infections (STIs) compared to whites, with 5 times the rates of syphilis and Chlamydia infection, chlamydia, and 7.5 times the rate of gonorrhea. The disproportionately high incidence of HIV/AIDS in the United States, HIV/AIDS among African-Americans has been attributed to Homophobia in the African American community, homophobic influences and lack of access to proper healthcare. The prevalence of HIV/AIDS among black men is seven times higher than the prevalence for white men, and black men are more than nine times as likely to die from HIV/AIDS-related illness than white men. Washington, D.C. has the nation's highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection, at 3%. This rate is comparable to what is seen in West Africa, and is considered a severe epidemic.
Ray Martins, Chief Medical Officer at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the largest provider of HIV care in Washington D.C., estimated that the actual underlying percent with HIV/AIDS in the city is "closer to five percent".


Mental health

African Americans have several Obstacles to receiving mental health services among African American youth, barriers for accessing mental health services. Mental health counselor, Counseling has been frowned upon and distant in utility and proximity to many people in the African American community. In 2004, a qualitative research study explored the disconnect with African Americans and mental health. The study was conducted as a semi-structured discussion which allowed the focus group to express their opinions and life experiences. The results revealed a couple key variables that create barriers for many African American communities to seek mental health services such as the stigma, lack of four important necessities; trust, affordability, cultural understanding and impersonal services. Historically, many African American communities did not seek counseling because religion was a part of the family values. African American who have a faith background are more likely to seek prayer as a coping mechanism for mental issues rather than seeking professional mental health services. In 2015 a study concluded, African Americans with high value in religion are less likely to utilize mental health services compared to those who have low value in religion. Most counseling approaches are Westernization, westernized and do not fit within the African American culture. African American families tend to resolve concerns within the family, and it is viewed by the family as a strength. On the other hand, when African Americans seek counseling, they face a social backlash and are criticized. They may be labeled "crazy", viewed as weak, and their pride is diminished. Because of this, many African Americans instead seek mentorship within communities they trust. Terminology is another barrier in relation to African Americans and mental health. There is more stigma on the term ''psychotherapy'' versus counseling. In one study, psychotherapy is associated with mental illness whereas counseling approaches problem-solving, guidance and help. More African Americans seek assistance when it is called counseling and not psychotherapy because it is more welcoming within the cultural and community. Counselors are encouraged to be aware of such barriers for the well-being of African American clients. Without Cultural competence in healthcare, cultural competency training in health care, many African Americans go unheard and misunderstood. Although suicide is a top-10 cause of death for men overall in the US, it is not a top-10 cause of death for black men.


Genetics


Genome-wide studies

Recent surveys of African Americans using a genetic testing service have found varied ancestries which show different tendencies by region and sex of ancestors. These studies found that on average, African Americans have 73.2–82.1% West African people, West African, 16.7%–24% European, and 0.8–1.2% Native American genetic ancestry, with large variation between individuals. Genetics websites themselves have reported similar ranges, with some finding 1 or 2 percent Native American ancestry and Ancestry.com reporting an outlying percentage of European ancestry among African Americans, 29%. According to a genome-wide study by Bryc et al. (2009), the mixed ancestry of African Americans in varying ratios came about as the result of sexual contact between West/Central Africans (more frequently females) and Europeans (more frequently males). Consequently, the 365 African Americans in their sample have a genome-wide average of 78.1% West African ancestry and 18.5% European ancestry, with large variation among individuals (ranging from 99% to 1% West African ancestry). The West African ancestral component in African Americans is most similar to that in present-day speakers from the non-Bantu languages, Bantu branches of the Niger-Congo languages, Niger-Congo (Niger-Kordofanian) family. Correspondingly, Montinaro et al. (2014) observed that around 50% of the overall ancestry of African Americans traces back to the Niger-Congo-speaking Yoruba people, Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria and southern Benin, reflecting the centrality of this West African region in the Atlantic Slave Trade. The next most frequent ancestral component found among African Americans was derived from Great Britain, in keeping with historical records. It constitutes a little over 10% of their overall ancestry, and is most similar to the Northwest European ancestral component also carried by Barbadians. Zakharaia et al. (2009) found a similar proportion of Yoruba associated ancestry in their African-American samples, with a minority also drawn from Mandenka people, Mandenka and Bantu peoples, Bantu populations. Additionally, the researchers observed an average European ancestry of 21.9%, again with significant variation between individuals. Bryc et al. (2009) note that populations from other parts of the continent may also constitute adequate proxies for the ancestors of some African-American individuals; namely, ancestral populations from Guinea Bissau, Senegal and Sierra Leone in West Africa and Angola in Southern Africa. Altogether, genetic studies suggest that African Americans are a multiracial people. According to DNA analysis led in 2006 by Pennsylvania State University, Penn State geneticist Mark D. Shriver, around 58 percent of African Americans have at least 12.5% European ancestry (equivalent to one European great-grandparent and his/her forebears), 19.6 percent of African Americans have at least 25% European ancestry (equivalent to one European grandparent and his/her forebears), and 1 percent of African Americans have at least 50% European ancestry (equivalent to one European parent and his/her forebears). According to Shriver, around 5 percent of African Americans also have at least 12.5% Native American ancestry (equivalent to one Native American great-grandparent and his/her forebears). Research suggests that Native American ancestry among people who identify as African American is a result of relationships that occurred soon after slave ships arrived in the American colonies, and European ancestry is of more recent origin, often from the decades before the Civil War.


Y-DNA

Africans bearing the Haplogroup E-V38, E-V38 (E1b1a) likely traversed across the Sahara, from East Africa, east to West Africa, west, approximately 19,000 years ago. Haplogroup E-M2, E-M2 (E1b1a1) likely originated in West Africa or Central Africa. According to a Y chromosome, Y-DNA study by Sims et al. (2007), the majority (≈60%) of African Americans belong to various subclades of the Haplogroup E-M2, E-M2 (E1b1a1, formerly E3a) paternal haplogroup. This is the most common genetic paternal lineage found today among West/Central African males, and is also a signature of the historical Bantu migrations. The next most frequent Y-DNA haplogroup observed among African Americans is the Haplogroup R1b (Y-DNA), R1b clade, which around 15% of African Americans carry. This lineage is most common today among Northwestern European males. The remaining African Americans mainly belong to the paternal Haplogroup I-M170, haplogroup I (≈7%), which is also frequent in Northwestern Europe.


mtDNA

According to an Mitochondrial DNA, mtDNA study by Salas et al. (2005), the maternal lineages of African Americans are most similar to haplogroups that are today especially common in West Africa (>55%), followed closely by West-Central Africa and Southwestern Africa (<41%). The characteristic West African haplogroups Haplogroup L1 (mtDNA), L1b, Haplogroup L2 (mtDNA), L2b,c,d, and Haplogroup L3 (mtDNA), L3b,d and West-Central African haplogroups Haplogroup L1 (mtDNA), L1c and Haplogroup L3 (mtDNA), L3e in particular occur at high frequencies among African Americans. As with the paternal DNA of African Americans, contributions from other parts of the continent to their maternal gene pool are insignificant.


Social status

Formal political, economic and social discrimination against minorities has been present throughout American history. Leland T. Saito, Associate Professor of Sociology and American Studies & Ethnicity at the University of Southern California, writes, "Political rights have been circumscribed by race, class and gender since the founding of the United States, when the right to vote was restricted to white men of property. Throughout the history of the United States race has been used by whites for legitimizing and creating difference and social, economic and political exclusion." African Americans have improved their social and economic standing significantly since the civil rights movement and recent decades have witnessed the expansion of a robust, African-American middle class across the United States. Unprecedented access to higher education and employment in addition to representation in the highest levels of American government has been gained by African Americans in the post–civil rights era. Nonetheless, widespread racism against African Americans remain an issue that undermines the development of their social status in the United States.


Economic issues

One of the most serious and long-standing issues within African-American communities is poverty. Poverty is associated with higher rates of marital stress and dissolution, physical disorder, physical and mental disorder, mental health problems, disability and poverty, disability, cognitive deficits, Achievement gap in the United States, low educational attainment, and crime. In 2004, almost 25% of African-American families lived below the poverty level. In 2007, the average income for African Americans was approximately $34,000, compared to $55,000 for whites. African Americans experience a higher rate of unemployment than the general population. African Americans have a long and diverse history of African-American Businesses, business ownership. Although the first African-American Businesses, African-American business is unknown, slaves captured from West Africa are believed to have established commercial enterprises as peddlers and skilled craftspeople as far back as the 17th century. Around 1900, Booker T. Washington became the most famous proponent of African-American businesses. His critic and rival W. E. B. DuBois also commended business as a vehicle for African-American advancement.


Policing and criminal justice

Forty percent of prison inmates are African-American. African American males are more likely to be killed by police when compared to other races. This is one of the factors that led to the creation of the Black Lives Matter movement in 2013. An historical issue in the U.S. where women have weaponized their white privilege in the country by reporting on black people, often instigating racial violence, white women calling the police on black people became widely publicized in 2020. Although in the last decade black youth have had lower rates of cannabis (marijuana) consumption than whites of the same age, they have disproportionately higher arrest rates than whites: in 2010, for example, blacks were 3.73 times as likely to get arrested for using cannabis than whites, despite not significantly more frequently being users.


Social issues

After over 50 years, marriage rates for all Americans began to decline while divorce rates and out-of-wedlock births have climbed. These changes have been greatest among African Americans. After more than 70 years of racial parity black marriage rates began to fall behind whites. Single-parent households have become common, and according to U.S. census figures released in January 2010, only 38 percent of black children live with both their parents. The first ever anti-miscegenation law was passed by the Maryland General Assembly in 1691, criminalizing interracial marriage. In a speech in Charleston, Illinois in 1858,
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln (; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American statesman and lawyer who served as the 16th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of governme ...

Abraham Lincoln
stated, "I am not, nor ever have been in favor of making voters or jurors of negroes, nor of qualifying them to hold office, nor to intermarry with white people". By the late 1800s, 38 US states had anti-miscegenation statutes. By 1924, the ban on interracial marriage was still in force in 29 states. While interracial marriage had been legal in California since 1948, in 1957 actor Sammy Davis Jr. faced a backlash for his involvement with white actress Kim Novak. Harry Cohn, the president of Columbia Pictures (with whom Novak was under contract) gave in to his concerns that a racist backlash against the relationship could hurt the studio. Davis briefly married black dancer Loray White in 1958 to protect himself from mob violence. Inebriated at the wedding ceremony, Davis despairingly said to his best friend, Arthur Silber Jr., "Why won't they let me live my life?" The couple never lived together, and commenced divorce proceedings in September 1958.Lanzendorfer, Joy (August 9, 2017
"Hollywood Loved Sammy Davis Jr. Until He Dated a White Movie Star"
''Smithsonian (magazine), Smithsonian'' Retrieved February 23, 2021.
In 1958, officers in Virginia entered the home of Richard and Mildred Loving and dragged them out of bed for living together as an interracial couple, on the basis that “any white person intermarry with a colored person”— or vice versa—each party “shall be guilty of a felony” and face prison terms of five years. The law was ruled unconstitutional in 1967 by the U.S. Supreme Court in ''Loving v. Virginia''. In 2008, Democrats overwhelmingly voted 70% against California Proposition 8, African Americans voted 58% in favor of it while 42% voted against Proposition 8. On May 9, 2012, Barack Obama, the first black president, became the first U.S. president to support same-sex marriage. Since Obama's endorsement there has been a rapid growth in support for same-sex marriage among African Americans. As of 2012, 59% of African Americans support same-sex marriage, which is higher than support among the national average (53%) and white Americans (50%). Polls in North Carolina, Pennsylvania, Missouri, Maryland, Ohio, Florida, and Nevada have also shown an increase in support for same sex marriage among African Americans. On November 6, 2012, Maryland Question 6, Maryland, Maine Question 1, 2012, Maine, and Washington Referendum 74, Washington all voted for approve of same-sex marriage, along with Minnesota rejecting a Minnesota Amendment 1, constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Exit polls in Maryland show about 50% of African Americans voted for same-sex marriage, showing a vast evolution among African Americans on the issue and was crucial in helping pass same-sex marriage in Maryland. Black Americans hold far more conservative opinions on abortion, Affair, extramarital sex, and raising children out of wedlock than Democrats as a whole. On financial issues, however, African Americans are in line with Democrats, generally supporting a more progressive tax structure to provide more government spending on social services.


Political legacy

Military history of African Americans, African Americans have fought in every war in the Military history of the United States, history of the United States. The gains made by African Americans in the
civil rights movement The 1954–1968 civil rights movement in the was preceded by a decades-long campaign by and their like-minded allies to end legalized , and in the United States. The movement has its origins in the during the late 19th century, although ...
and in the Black Power movement not only obtained certain rights for African Americans, but changed American society in far-reaching and fundamentally important ways. Prior to the 1950s, Black Americans in the South were subject to de jure discrimination, or Jim Crow laws. They were often the victims of extreme cruelty and violence, sometimes resulting in deaths: by the post World War II era, African Americans became increasingly discontented with their long-standing inequality. In the words of Martin Luther King Jr., African Americans and their supporters challenged the nation to "rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed that all men are created equal..." The civil rights movement marked an enormous change in American social, political, economic and civic life. It brought with it boycotts, sit-ins, nonviolent demonstrations and marches, court battles, bombings and other violence; prompted worldwide media coverage and intense public debate; forged enduring civic, economic and religious alliances; and disrupted and realigned the nation's two major political parties. Over time, it has changed in fundamental ways the manner in which blacks and whites interact with and relate to one another. The movement resulted in the removal of codified, ''de jure'' racial segregation and discrimination from American life and law, and heavily influenced other groups and movements in struggles for civil rights and social equality within American society, including the Free Speech Movement, the Disability, disabled, the Feminist movement, women's movement, and migrant workers. It also inspired the Native American rights movement, and in King's 1964 book ''Why We Can't Wait'' he wrote the U.S. "was born in genocide when it embraced the doctrine that the original American, the Indian, was an inferior race."


Media and coverage

Some activists and academics contend that American news media coverage of African-American news, concerns, or dilemmas is inadequate, or that the news media present distorted images of African Americans. To combat this, Robert L. Johnson founded Black Entertainment Television, a network that targets young African Americans and urban audiences in the United States. Over the years, the network has aired such programming as Hip hop music, rap and Contemporary R&B, R&B music videos, urban-oriented movies and television series, and some public affairs programs. On Sunday mornings, BET would broadcast Christian programming; the network would also broadcast non-affiliated Christian programs during the early morning hours daily. BET is now a global network that reaches households in the United States, Caribbean, Canada, and the United Kingdom. The network has gone on to spawn several spin-off channels, including BET Her (originally launched as ''BET on Jazz''), which originally showcased jazz music-related programming, and later expanded to include general-interest urban programs as well as some R&B, soul music, soul, and world music. Another network targeting African-Americans is TV One (Radio One), TV One. TV One's original programming was formally focused on lifestyle and entertainment-oriented shows, movies, fashion, and music programming. The network also reruns classic series from as far back as the 1970s to current series such as ''Empire (2015 TV series), Empire'' and ''Sister Circle''. TV One is owned by Urban One, founded and controlled by Cathy Hughes, Catherine Hughes. Urban One is one of the nation's largest radio broadcasting companies and the largest African-American-owned radio broadcasting company in the United States. African-American networks that were scheduled to launch in 2009 include the Black Television News Channel founded by former Congressman J. C. Watts and Better Black Television founded by Master P, Percy Miller. In June 2009, NBC News launched a new website named The Grio in partnership with the production team that created the black documentary film ''Meeting David Wilson''. It is the first African-American video news site that focuses on underrepresented stories in existing national news. The Grio consists of a broad spectrum of original video packages, news articles, and contributor blogs on topics including breaking news, politics, health, business, entertainment and Black History. Other Black-owned and oriented media outlets include: * The Africa Channel – Dedicated to programming representing the best in African culture. * ASPiRE (TV network), aspireTV – a digital cable and satellite channel owned by businessman and former basketball player Magic Johnson. * ATTV – an independent public affairs and educational channel. * Bounce TV – a digital multicast network owned by E. W. Scripps Company. * Cleo TV – a sister network to TV One (U.S. TV network), TV One targeting African-American women. * Fox Television Stations#Fox Soul, Fox Soul – a digital streaming channel primarily airing original talk shows and syndicated programming * Oprah Winfrey Network – a cable and satellite network founded by Oprah Winfrey and jointly owned by Discovery, Inc. and Harpo Studios. While not exclusively targeting African Americans, much of its original programming is geared towards a similar demographic. * Revolt (TV network), Revolt – a music channel owned by Sean Combs, Sean "Puff Daddy" Combs. * Soul of the South Network – a regional broadcast network. * VH1 – A female-oriented general entertainment channel owned by Viacom (2005–present), Viacom. Originally focused on light genres of music, the network's programming became slanted towards African American culture in recent years.


Culture

From their earliest presence in North America, African Americans have significantly contributed literature, art, agricultural skills, cuisine, clothing styles, music, language, and social and technological innovation to American culture. The cultivation and use of many agricultural products in the United States, such as Sweet potato, yams, peanuts, rice, okra, sorghum, grits, watermelon, indigo dyes, and cotton, can be traced to West African and African-American influences. Notable examples include George Washington Carver, who created 300 products from peanuts, 118 products from sweet potatoes, and 75 products from pecans; and George Crum, a local legend incorrectly associates him with the creation of the potato chip in 1853. Soul food is a variety of cuisine popular among African Americans. It is closely related to the cuisine of the Southern United States. The descriptive terminology may have originated in the mid-1960s, when ''wikt:soul, soul'' was a common definer used to describe African-American culture (for example, soul music). African Americans were the first peoples in the United States to make fried chicken, along with Scottish people, Scottish immigrants to the South. Although the Scottish had been frying chicken before they emigrated, they lacked the spices and flavor that African Americans had used when preparing the meal. The Scottish American settlers therefore adopted the African-American method of seasoning chicken. However, fried chicken was generally a rare meal in the African-American community, and was usually reserved for special events or celebrations.


Language

African-American English is a Variety (linguistics), variety (dialect, ethnolect, and sociolect) of American English, commonly spoken by urban working class, working-class and largely wikt:bidialectal, bi-dialectal middle class, middle-class African Americans. African-American English evolved during the antebellum period through interaction between speakers of 16th- and 17th-century English of Great Britain and Ireland and various West African languages. As a result, the variety shares parts of its grammar and phonology with the Southern American English dialect. Where African-American English differs from Standard American English (SAE) is in certain pronunciation characteristics, tense usage and grammatical structures that were derived from West African languages, particularly those belonging to the Niger-Congo languages, Niger-Congo family. Virtually all habitual speakers of African-American English can understand and communicate in Standard American English. As with all linguistic forms, AAVE's usage is influenced by various factors, including geographical, educational and socioeconomic background, as well as formality of setting. Additionally, there are many literary uses of this variety of English, particularly in African-American literature.


Traditional names

African-American names are part of the cultural traditions of African Americans. Prior to the 1950s, and 1960s, most African-American names closely resembled those used within European American culture. Babies of that era were generally given a few common names, with children using nicknames to distinguish the various people with the same name. With the rise of 1960s civil rights movement, there was a dramatic increase in names of various origins. By the 1970s, and 1980s, it had become common among African Americans to invent new names for themselves, although many of these invented names took elements from popular existing names. Prefixes such as La/Le, Da/De, Ra/Re and Ja/Je, and suffixes like -ique/iqua, -isha and -aun/-awn are common, as are inventive spellings for common names. The book ''Baby Names Now: From Classic to Cool—The Very Last Word on First Names'' places the origins of "La" names in African-American culture in
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. Even with the rise of inventive names, it is still common for African Americans to use biblical, historical, or traditional European names. Daniel, Christopher, Michael, David, James, Joseph, and Matthew were thus among the most frequent names for African-American boys in 2013. The name LaKeisha is typically considered American in origin, but has elements that were drawn from both French and West/Central African roots. Names such as LaTanisha, JaMarcus, DeAndre, and Shaniqua were created in the same way. Punctuation marks are seen more often within African-American names than other American names, such as the names Mo'nique and D'Andre.


Religion

The majority of African Americans are Protestant, many of whom follow the historically black churches.U.S.Religious Landscape Survey
The Pew Forum on Religion and Public Life (February 2008). Retrieved July 20, 2009.
The term Black church refers to churches which minister to predominantly African-American congregations. Black congregations were first established by freed slaves at the end of the 17th century, and later when slavery was abolished more African Americans were allowed to create a unique form of Christianity that was culturally influenced by African spiritual traditions. According to a 2007 survey, more than half of the African-American population are part of the historically black churches. The largest Protestant denomination among African Americans are the Baptists, distributed mainly in four denominations, the largest being the National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc., National Baptist Convention, USA and the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc., National Baptist Convention of America. The second largest are the Methodists,William Henry James, Stephen Lloyd Johnson (1997). ''Doin' drugs: patterns of African American addiction''. University of Texas Press. p. 135. . the largest denominations are the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church.The NCC's 2008 Yearbook of Churches reports a wide range of health care ministries
National Council of Churches USA. February 14, 2008. Retrieved June 22, 2009.
Pentecostalism, Pentecostals are distributed among several different religious bodies, with the Church of God in Christ as the largest among them by far. About 16% of African-American Christians are members of white Protestant communions, these denominations (which include the United Church of Christ) mostly have a 2 to 3% African-American membership. There are also large numbers of Catholic Church, Catholics, constituting 5% of the African-American population. Of the total number of Jehovah's Witnesses, 22% are black. Some African Americans follow Islam. Historically, between 15 and 30% of enslaved Africans brought to the Americas were Muslims, but most of these Africans were converted to Christianity during the era of American slavery. During the twentieth century, some African Americans converted to Islam, mainly through the influence of Black nationalism, black nationalist groups that preached with distinctive Islamic practices; including the Moorish Science Temple of America, and the largest organization, the Nation of Islam, founded in the 1930s, which attracted at least 20,000 people by 1963. Prominent members included activist Malcolm X and boxer Muhammad Ali. Malcolm X is considered the first person to start the movement among African Americans towards mainstream Islam, after he left the Nation and made the Hajj, pilgrimage to Mecca. In 1975, Warith Deen Mohammed, the son of Elijah Muhammad took control of the Nation after his father's death and guided the majority of its members to Sunni Islam, orthodox Islam. African-American Muslims constitute 20% of the total Islam in the United States, U.S. Muslim population, the majority are Sunni Islam, Sunni or orthodox Muslims, some of these identify under the community of W. Deen Mohammed. The Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan has a membership ranging from 20,000 to 50,000 members. There are relatively few African-American Jews; estimates of their number range from 20,000 to 200,000. Most of these Jews are part of mainstream groups such as the Reform Judaism, Reform, Conservative Judaism, Conservative, or Orthodox Judaism, Orthodox branches of Judaism; although there are significant numbers of people who are part of non-mainstream Jewish groups, largely the Black Hebrew Israelites, whose beliefs include the claim that African Americans are descended from the Biblical Israelites. Confirmed Atheism, atheists are less than one half of one-percent, similar to numbers for Hispanics.


Music

African-American music is one of the most pervasive African-American cultural influences in the United States today and is among the most dominant in mainstream popular music. Hip hop music, Hip hop, Rhythm and blues, R&B, funk, rock and roll, soul music, soul, blues, and other contemporary American musical forms originated in black communities and evolved from other black forms of music, including blues, doo-wop, Barbershop music, barbershop, ragtime, Bluegrass music, bluegrass, jazz, and gospel music. African-American-derived musical forms have also influenced and been incorporated into virtually every other popular music genre in the world, including Country music, country and techno. African-American genres are the most important ethnic vernacular tradition in America, as they have developed independent of African traditions from which they arise more so than any other immigrant groups, including Europeans; make up the broadest and longest lasting range of styles in America; and have, historically, been more influential, interculturally, geographically, and economically, than other American vernacular traditions.


Dance

African Americans have also had an important role in American dance. Bill T. Jones, a prominent modern choreographer and dancer, has included historical African-American themes in his work, particularly in the piece "Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land". Likewise, Alvin Ailey's artistic work, including his "Revelations" based on his experience growing up as an African American in the South during the 1930s, has had a significant influence on modern dance. Another form of dance, Stepping (African-American), Stepping, is an African-American tradition whose performance and competition has been formalized through the traditionally black fraternities and sororities at universities.


Literature and academics

Many African-American authors have written stories, poems, and essays influenced by their experiences as African Americans. African-American literature is a major genre in American literature. Famous examples include Langston Hughes, James Baldwin (writer), James Baldwin, Richard Wright (author), Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou. African-American inventors have created many widely used devices in the world and have contributed to international innovation. Norbert Rillieux created the technique for converting sugar cane juice into white sugar crystals. Moreover, Rillieux left Louisiana in 1854 and went to France, where he spent ten years working with the Champollions deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphs, Egyptian hieroglyphics from the Rosetta Stone. Most slave inventors were nameless, such as the slave owned by the Confederate States of America, Confederate President Jefferson Davis who designed the ship propeller used by the Confederate navy. By 1913, over 1,000 inventions were patented by black Americans. Among the most notable inventors were Jan Matzeliger, who developed the first machine to mass-produce shoes, and Elijah McCoy, who invented automatic lubrication devices for steam engines. Granville Woods had 35 patents to improve electric railway systems, including the first system to allow moving trains to communicate. Garrett A. Morgan developed the first automatic traffic signal and gas mask. Lewis Howard Latimer invented an improvement for the incandescent light bulb. More recent inventors include Frederick McKinley Jones, who invented the movable refrigeration unit for food transport in trucks and trains. Lloyd Quarterman worked with six other black scientists on the creation of the atomic bomb (code named the Manhattan Project.) Quarterman also helped develop the first nuclear reactor, which was used in the atomically powered submarine called the Nautilus. A few other notable examples include the first successful Cardiac surgery, open heart surgery, performed by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, and the air conditioner, patented by Frederick McKinley Jones. Dr. Mark Dean (computer scientist), Mark Dean holds three of the original nine patents on the computer on which all PCs are based. More current contributors include Otis Boykin, whose inventions included several novel methods for manufacturing electrical components that found use in applications such as guided missile systems and computers, and Colonel Frederick D. Gregory, Frederick Gregory, who was not only the first black astronaut pilot but the person who redesigned the cockpits for the last three space shuttles. Gregory was also on the team that pioneered the microwave instrumentation landing system.


Terminology


General

The term ''African American'', coined by Jesse Jackson in the 1980s, carries important political overtones. Earlier terms used to describe Americans of African ancestry referred more to skin color than to ancestry, and were conferred upon the group by colonists and Americans of European ancestry; people with dark skins were considered inferior in fact and in law. Other terms (such as ''colored'', ''person of color'', or ''negro'') were included in the wording of various laws and legal decisions which some thought were being used as tools of
white supremacy White supremacy or white supremacism is the belief that white people are superior to those of other Race (human classification), races and thus should dominate them. The belief favors the maintenance and defense of any Power (social and poli ...
and oppression. A 16-page pamphlet entitled "A Sermon on the Capture of Lord Cornwallis" is notable for the attribution of its authorship to "An ''African American''". Published in 1782, the book's use of this phrase predates any other yet identified by more than 50 years. In the 1980s, the term ''African American'' was advanced on the model of, for example, German Americans, German American or Irish Americans, Irish American, to give descendants of Slavery in the United States, American slaves, and other American blacks who lived through the slavery era, a Cultural heritage, heritage and a cultural base. The term was popularized in black communities around the country via word of mouth and ultimately received mainstream use after Jesse Jackson publicly used the term in front of a national audience in 1988. Subsequently, major media outlets adopted its use. Surveys show that the majority of Black Americans have no preference for ''African American'' versus ''Black American'', although they have a slight preference for the latter in personal settings and the former in more formal settings. Many African Americans have expressed a preference for the term ''African American'' because it was formed in the same way as the terms for the many other ethnic groups currently living in the United States. Some argued further that, because of the historical circumstances surrounding the capture, enslavement, and systematic attempts to de-Africanize blacks in the United States under Slavery#Chattel slavery, chattel slavery, most African Americans are unable to trace their ancestry to any specific List of sovereign states and dependent territories in Africa, African nation; hence, the Africa, entire continent serves as a geographic marker. The term ''African American'' embraces pan-Africanism as earlier enunciated by prominent African thinkers such as Marcus Garvey, W. E. B. Du Bois, and George Padmore. The term ''Afro-Usonian'', and variations of such, are more rarely used.


Official identity

Since 1977, in an attempt to keep up with changing social opinion, the Federal government of the United States, United States government has officially classified black people (revised to ''black'' or ''African American'' in 1997) as "having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa." Other federal offices, such as the United States Census Bureau, U.S. Census Bureau, adhere to the Office of Management and Budget standards on race in their data collection and tabulation efforts. In preparation for the 2010 United States Census, 2010 U.S. Census, a marketing and outreach plan called ''2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign Plan'' (ICC) recognized and defined African Americans as black people born in the United States. From the ICC perspective, African Americans are one of three groups of black people in the United States. The ICC plan was to reach the three groups by acknowledging that each group has its own sense of community that is based on geography and ethnicity. The best way to market the census process toward any of the three groups is to reach them through their own unique communication channels and not treat the entire black population of the U.S. as though they are all African Americans with a single ethnic and geographical background. The Federal Bureau of Investigation of the United States Department of Justice, U.S. Department of Justice categorizes black or African American people as "[a] person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa" through racial categories used in the UCR Program adopted from the Statistical Policy Handbook (1978) and published by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, United States Department of Commerce, U.S. Department of Commerce, derived from the 1977 Office of Management and Budget classification.


Admixture

Historically, "Miscegenation, race mixing" between Black (people), black and White American, white people was taboo in the United States. So-called anti-miscegenation laws, barring blacks and whites from Interracial marriage in the United States, marrying or having sex, were established in colonial America as early as 1691, and endured in many Southern United States, Southern states until the Supreme Court of the United States, Supreme Court ruled them unconstitutional in ''Loving v. Virginia'' (1967). The taboo among American whites surrounding white-black relations is a historical consequence of the oppression and
racial segregation Racial segregation is the systematic separation of people into race (human classification), racial or other Ethnicity, ethnic groups in daily life. Racial segregation can amount to the international crime of apartheid and a crimes against hum ...
of African Americans. Historian David Brion Davis notes the racial mixing that occurred during slavery was frequently attributed by the Plantations in the American South, planter class to the "lower-class white males" but Davis concludes that "there is abundant evidence that many slaveowners, sons of slaveowners, and overseers took black mistresses or in effect raped the wives and daughters of slave families." A famous example was Thomas Jefferson's mistress, Sally Hemings. Harvard University historian Henry Louis Gates Jr. wrote in 2009 that "African Americans…are a racially mixed or
mulatto Mulatto (, ) is a racial classification A race is a grouping of humans based on shared physical or social qualities into categories generally viewed as distinct by society. The term was first used to refer to speakers of a common language ...

mulatto
people—deeply and overwhelmingly so" (see #Genetics, genetics). After the
Emancipation Proclamation The Emancipation Proclamation, or Proclamation 95, was a presidential proclamation The text of presidential proclamation 9552 of December 9, 2016 regarding the lowering of flags because of the death of John Glenn, as published in the Feder ...

Emancipation Proclamation
, Chinese Americans, Chinese American men married African American women in high proportions to their total marriage numbers due to few Chinese American women being in the United States. African slaves and their descendants have also had a history of cultural exchange and Miscegenation, intermarriage with Native Americans, although they did not necessarily retain social, cultural or linguistic ties to Native peoples. There are also increasing intermarriages and offspring between non-Hispanic blacks and Hispanics of any race, especially between Puerto Ricans and African Americans (American-born blacks). According to author M.M. Drymon, many African Americans identify as having Scotch-Irish American, Scots-Irish ancestry. Racially mixed marriages have become increasingly accepted in the United States since the civil rights movement and up to the present day. Approval in national opinion polls has risen from 36% in 1978, to 48% in 1991, 65% in 2002, 77% in 2007. A Gallup poll conducted in 2013 found that 84% of whites and 96% of blacks approved of interracial marriage, and 87% overall. At the end of World War II, African American men married Women in Japan, Japanese women in Japan and immigrated to the United States.


Terminology dispute

In her book ''The End of Blackness'', as well as in an essay on the liberal website ''Salon.com, Salon'', author Debra Dickerson has argued that the term ''
black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete absorption of visible light Light or visible light is electromagnetic radiation within the portion of the electromagnetic spectrum that can be visual perception, perceived by t ...
'' should refer strictly to the descendants of Africans who were brought to America as slaves, and not to the sons and daughters of black immigrants who lack that ancestry. Thus, under her definition, President
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician and attorney who served as the 44th president of the United States The president of the United States (POTUS) is the head of state and head of government ...

Barack Obama
, who is the son of a Kenyan Americans, Kenyan immigrant, is not black. She makes the argument that grouping all people of African descent together regardless of their unique ancestral circumstances would inevitably deny the lingering effects of slavery within the American community of slave descendants, in addition to denying black immigrants recognition of their own unique ancestral backgrounds. "Lumping us all together," Dickerson wrote, "erases the significance of slavery and continuing racism while giving the appearance of progress." Similar viewpoints have been expressed by Stanley Crouch in a ''New York Daily News'' piece, Charles Steele Jr. of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and African-American columnist David Ehrenstein of the ''Los Angeles Times'', who accused white liberals of flocking to blacks who were ''Magic Negros'', a term that refers to a black person with no past who simply appears to assist the mainstream white (as cultural protagonists/drivers) agenda. Ehrenstein went on to say "He's there to assuage white 'guilt' they feel over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history." Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice (who was famously mistaken for a "recent American immigrant" by President of France, French President Nicolas Sarkozy), said "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that." She has also rejected an immigrant designation for African Americans and instead prefers the term ''black'' or ''white'' to denote the African and European U.S. founding populations.


Terms no longer in common use

Before the independence of the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies or the Thirteen American Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Founded in the 17th and 18th centuries, th ...
until the abolition of slavery in 1865, an African-American slave was commonly known as a ''negro''. ''Free negro'' was the legal status in the territory of an African-American person who was not a slave. The term ''colored'' later also began to be used until the second quarter of the 20th century, when it was considered outmoded and generally gave way again to the exclusive use of ''negro''. By the 1940s, the term was commonly capitalized (''Negro''); but by the mid-1960s, it was considered disparaging. By the end of the 20th century, ''negro'' had come to be considered inappropriate and was rarely used and perceived as a pejorative. The term is rarely used by younger black people, but remained in use by many older African Americans who had grown up with the term, particularly in the southern U.S. The term remains in use in some contexts, such as the United Negro College Fund, an American philanthropic organization that funds scholarships for black students and general scholarship funds for 39 private historically black colleges and universities. There are many other deliberately insulting terms, many of which were in common use (e.g., ''nigger''), but had become unacceptable in normal discourse before the end of the 20th century. One exception is the use, among the black community, of the slur ''nigger'' rendered as ''nigga'', representing the pronunciation of the word in African-American English. This usage has been popularized by American rap and Hip hop, hip-hop Music of the United States, music cultures and is used as part of an In-group and out-group, in-group lexicon and speech. It is not necessarily Pejorative, derogatory and, when used among black people, the word is often used to mean "homie" or "friend." Acceptance of intra-group usage of the word ''nigga'' is still debated, although it has established a foothold among younger generations. The
NAACP The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights Civil and political rights are a class of rights Rights are law, legal, social, or ethics, ethical principles of Liberty, freedom or entitlement ...
denounces the use of both ''nigga'' and ''nigger''. Mixed-race usage of ''nigga'' is still considered taboo, particularly if the speaker is white. However, trends indicate that usage of the term in intragroup settings is increasing even among white youth due to the popularity of rap and hip hop culture.Kevin Aldridge, Richelle Thompson and Earnest Winston
"The evolving N-word"
''The Cincinnati Enquirer'', August 5, 2001.


See also

* African-American art * African-American middle class * African-American neighborhood * African-American upper class * Afrophobia * Black Belt in the American South * Civil rights movement (1865–1896) * Civil rights movement (1896–1954) * North Africans in the United States * National Museum of African American History and Culture * Criollo people#Spanish colonial caste system, Society and black people in the Spanish Colonial Americas * South African Americans * Timeline of the civil rights movement


Diaspora

* African Americans in France * African Americans in Ghana


Lists

* Index of articles related to African Americans * List of African-American neighborhoods * List of African-American newspapers and media outlets * List of historically black colleges and universities * List of monuments to African Americans * List of populated places in the United States with African-American plurality populations * List of topics related to the African diaspora * Lists of African Americans


Notes


References


Further reading

* * Finkelman, Paul, ed. ''Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619-1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass'' (3 vol Oxford University Press, 2006). * Finkelman, Paul, ed. ''Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century'' (5 vol. Oxford University Press, USA, 2009). * John Hope Franklin, Alfred Moss, ''From Slavery to Freedom. A History of African Americans'', McGraw-Hill Education 2001, standard work, first edition in 1947. * Gates, Henry L. and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham (eds), ''African American Lives'', Oxford University Press, 2004 – more than 600 biographies. * Darlene Clark Hine, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn, Elsa Barkley Brown (eds), ''Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia'', Paperback Edition, Indiana University Press 2005. * Kranz, Rachel. ''African-American Business Leaders and Entrepreneurs'' (Infobase Publishing, 2004). * Salzman, Jack, ed. ''Encyclopedia of Afro-American culture and history'', New York City : Macmillan Library Reference USA, 1996. * *


External links

* Richard Thompson For
Name Games
''Slate'', September 16, 2004. Article discussing the problems of defining ''African American''
"Of Arms & the Law: Don Kates on Afro-American Homicide Rates"

''Scientific American'' Magazine (June 2006) Trace Elements
Reconnecting African Americans to an ancestral past
"The Definition of Political Absurdity"
''San Francisco Chronicle'', March 2, 2007

pdf

– see Part III, Chap 10
Black History related original documents and photos

President Obama's Speech to the NAACP on July 16, 2009
– full video by MSNBC * Frank Newport
"Black or African American?"
Gallup, September 28, 2007
"The Long Journey of Black Americans"
nbsp;– slideshow by ''The First Post'' {{Authority control African-American society, Ethnic groups in the United States History of civil rights in the United States People of African descent, American African-American culture,