African-American history
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African-American history began with the arrival of
Africans African or Africans may refer to: * Anything from or pertaining to the continent 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 mill ...
to
North America North America is a continent in the Northern Hemisphere and almost entirely within the Western Hemisphere. It is bordered to the north by the Arctic Ocean, to the east by the Atlantic Ocean, to the southeast by South America and the Car ...

North America
in the 16th and 17th centuries. Former Spanish slaves who had been freed by
Francis Drake Sir Francis Drake ( – 28 January 1596) was an English Exploration, explorer, sea captain, Privateering, privateer, Atlantic slave trade, slave trader, Officer (armed forces), naval officer, and politician. Drake is best known for Franci ...

Francis Drake
arrived aboard the Golden Hind at New Albion in California in 1579. The
European colonization of the Americas During the Age of Discovery, a large scale European colonization of the Americas took place between about 1492 and 1800. Although Norse colonization of North America, the Norse had explored and colonized areas of the North Atlantic, colonizin ...
, and the resulting transatlantic slave trade, led to a large-scale transportation of enslaved Africans across the Atlantic; of the roughly 10–12 million Africans who were sold by the Barbary slave trade, either to European slavery or to servitude in the Americas, approximately 388,000 landed in North America. After arriving in various European colonies in North America, the enslaved Africans were sold to white colonists, primarily to work on
cash crop A cash crop or profit crop is an Agriculture, agricultural crop which is grown to sell for profit. It is typically purchased by parties separate from a farm. The term is used to differentiate marketed crops from staple crop (or "subsistence crop") ...
plantations. A group of enslaved Africans arrived in the English
colony of Virginia The Colony of Virginia, chartered in 1606 and settled in 1607, was the first enduring English colonial empire, English colony in North America, following failed attempts at settlement on Newfoundland (island), Newfoundland by Sir Humphrey GilbertG ...
in 1619, marking the beginning of slavery in the colonial history of the United States; by 1776, roughly 20% of the
British North America British North America comprised the colonial territories of the British Empire The British Empire was composed of the dominions, Crown colony, colonies, protectorates, League of Nations mandate, mandates, and other Dependent territory, ...
n population was of African descent, both free and enslaved. The
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, was a major war of the American Revolution. Widely considered as the war that secured the independence of t ...
, which saw the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies, the Thirteen American Colonies, or later as the United Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British Colony, colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Fo ...
become independent and transform into the
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 Continental United States, primarily located in North America. It consists of 50 U.S. state, states, a Washington, D.C., ...

United States
, led to great social upheavals for African Americans; Black soldiers fought on both the
British
British
and the American sides, and after the conflict ended the
Northern United States The Northern United States, commonly referred to as the American North, the Northern States, or simply the North, is a geographical or historical region of the United States. History Early history Before the 19th century westward expansion, the "N ...
gradually abolished slavery. However, the
American South The Southern United States (sometimes Dixie, also referred to as the Southern States, the American South, the Southland, or simply the South) is a geographic and cultural List of regions of the United States#Official regions of the United Stat ...
, which had an economy dependent on
plantations A plantation is an agricultural estate, generally centered on a plantation house, meant for farming that specializes in cash crops, usually mainly planted with a single crop, with perhaps ancillary areas for vegetables for eating and so on. Th ...
operation by slave labor, entrenched the slave system and expanded it during the westward expansion of the United States. During this period, numerous enslaved African Americans escaped into free states and
Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and territories of Canada, ten provinces and three territories extend from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean and northward into the Arctic Ocean, covering over , making it the world ...

Canada
via the Underground Railroad. Disputes over slavery between the Northern and Southern states led to the
American Civil War The American Civil War (April 12, 1861 – May 26, 1865; also known by Names of the American Civil War, other names) was a civil war in the United States. It was fought between the Union (American Civil War), Union ("the North") and t ...
, in which 178,000 African Americans served on the Union side. During the war, President
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln ( ; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation throu ...

Abraham Lincoln
issued the Thirteenth Amendment, which abolished slavery in the U.S. After the war ended with a
Confederate
Confederate
defeat, the
Reconstruction era The Reconstruction era was a period in History of the United States, American history following the American Civil War (1861–1865) and lasting until approximately the Compromise of 1877. During Reconstruction, attempts were made to rebui ...
began, in which African Americans living in the South were granted equal rights with their white neighbors. White opposition to these advancements led to most African Americans living in the South to be disfranchised, and a system of
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 ...
known as the
Jim Crow laws The Jim Crow laws were U.S. state, state and local laws enforcing Racial segregation in the United States, racial segregation in the Southern United States. Other areas of the United States were affected by formal and informal policies of ...
was passed in the Southern states. Beginning in the early 20th century, in response to poor economic conditions, segregation and lynchings, over 6 million primarily rural African Americans migrated out of the South to other regions of the United States in search of opportunity. The nadir of American race relations led to civil rights efforts to overturn
discrimination Discrimination is the act of making unjustified distinctions between people based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they belong or are perceived to belong. People may be discriminated on the basis of Racial discrimination, r ...
and
racism Racism is the belief that groups of humans possess different behavioral traits corresponding to inherited attributes and can be divided based on the superiority of one Race (human categorization), race over another. It may also mean prejudice, d ...
against African Americans. In 1954, these efforts coalesced into a broad unified movement led by civil rights activists such as Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. This succeeded in persuading the federal government to pass 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, and nationa ...
, which outlawed racial discrimination. The
2020 United States census The United States census of 2020 was the twenty-fourth decennial United States census. Census Day, the reference day used for the census, was April 1, 2020. Other than a pilot study during the 2000 United States census, 2000 census, this was the ...
reported that 46,936,733 respondents identified as African Americans, forming roughly 14.2% of the American population. Of those, over 2.1 million immigrated to the United States as citizens of modern African states. African Americans have made major contributions to the
culture of the United States The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western culture, Western, and Culture of Europe, European origin, yet its influences includes the cultures of Asian Americans, Asian American, African Americans, African American, ...
, including
literature Literature is any collection of Writing, written work, but it is also used more narrowly for writings specifically considered to be an art form, especially prose fiction, drama, and poetry. In recent centuries, the definition has expanded to ...
,
cinema Cinema may refer to: Film * Cinematography, the art of motion-picture photography * Film or movie, a series of still images that create the illusion of a moving image ** Film industry, the technological and commercial institutions of filmmaking * ...
and
music Music is generally defined as the The arts, art of arranging sound to create some combination of Musical form, form, harmony, melody, rhythm or otherwise Musical expression, expressive content. Exact definition of music, definitions of mu ...
.


Enslavement


African origins

The majority of African Americans are the descendants of Africans who were forced into slavery after being captured during African wars or raids. They were purchased and brought to America as part of the
Atlantic slave trade The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and ...
. African Americans are descended from various ethnic groups, mostly from ethnic groups that lived in
Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska Western is a village in Saline County, Nebraska, Saline County, Nebraska, United States. The population was 224 at the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census. History Western was laid out in 1 ...
and
Central Africa Central Africa is a subregion of the African continent comprising various countries according to different definitions. Angola, Burundi, the Central African Republic, Chad, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, the Republic of the Congo, Eq ...
, including the
Sahel The Sahel (; ar, ساحل ' , "coast, shore") is a region in North Africa. It is defined as the ecoclimatic and biogeographic realm of Ecotone, transition between the Sahara to the north and the Sudanian savanna to the south. Having a hot semi-a ...
. A smaller number of African Americans are descended from ethnic groups that lived in Eastern and Southeastern Africa. The major ethnic groups that the enslaved Africans belonged to included the
Bakongo The Kongo people ( kg, Bisi Kongo, , singular: ; also , singular: ) are a Bantu people, Bantu ethnic group primarily defined as the speakers of Kongo language, Kikongo. Subgroups include the Beembe tribe (Kongo), Beembe, Bwende, Vili people, Vi ...
, Igbo, Mandé, Wolof,
Akan Akan may refer to: People and languages *Akan people, an ethnic group in Ghana and Côte d'Ivoire *Akan language, a language spoken by the Akan people *Kwa languages, a language group which includes Akan *Central Tano languages, a language group w ...
, Fon,
Yoruba The Yoruba people (, , ) are a West African ethnic group that mainly inhabit parts of Nigeria, Benin, and Togo. The areas of these countries primarily inhabited by Yoruba are often collectively referred to as Yorubaland. The Yoruba constitute ...
, and Makua, among many others. Although these different groups varied in customs, religious theology and language, what they had in common was a way of life which was different from that of the Europeans.Carson, Clayborne, Emma Lapsansky-Werner, and Gary Nash. ''The Struggle for Freedom: A History of African Americans''. New York: Pearson Education, Inc., 2011. Originally, a majority of the future slaves came from these villages and societies, however, once they were sent to the Americas and enslaved, these different peoples had European standards and beliefs forced upon them, causing them to do away with tribal differences and forge a new history and culture that was a
creolization Creolization is the process through which creole languages and cultures emerge. Creolization was first used by linguists to explain how Language contact, contact languages become Creole language, creole languages, but now scholars in other social s ...
of their common past, present, and European culture . Slaves who belonged to specific African ethnic groups were more sought after and became more dominant in numbers than slaves who belonged to other African ethnic groups in certain regions of what later became the United States.


Regions of Africa

Studies of contemporary documents reveal seven regions from which Africans were sold or taken during the Atlantic slave trade. These regions were: *
Senegambia The Senegambia (other names: Senegambia region or Senegambian zone,Barry, Boubacar, ''Senegambia and the Atlantic Slave Trade'', (Editors: David Anderson, Carolyn Brown; trans. Ayi Kwei Armah; contributors: David Anderson, American Council of Le ...
, encompassing the coast from the
Senegal River The Senegal River ( ar, نهر السنغال, Nahr as-Siniġāl, french: Fleuve Sénégal, wo, Dexug Senegaal) is a long river in West Africa; much of its length marks part of the Mauritania–Senegal border, border between Senegal and Maur ...
to the Casamance River, where captives as far away as the Upper and Middle
Niger River The Niger River ( ; ) is the main river of West Africa, extending about . Its drainage basin is in area. Its source is in the Guinea Highlands in south-eastern Guinea near the Sierra Leone border. It runs in a crescent shape through Mali, ...
Valley were sold; * The
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone,)]. officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea surrounds the northern half of the nation. Covering a total area of , Sierra ...
region included territory from the Casamance River, Casamance to the
Assinie Assinie-Mafia is a coastal resort town in south-eastern Ivory Coast Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d'Ivoire, officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country on the southern coast of West Africa. Its capital is Yamoussoukro, in the ...
in the modern countries of
Guinea-Bissau Guinea-Bissau ( ; pt, Guiné-Bissau; ff, italic=no, 𞤘𞤭𞤲𞤫 𞤄𞤭𞤧𞤢𞥄𞤱𞤮, Gine-Bisaawo, script=Adlm; Mandinka language, Mandinka: ''Gine-Bisawo''), officially the Republic of Guinea-Bissau ( pt, República da Guiné- ...
,
Guinea Guinea ( ),, fuf, 𞤘𞤭𞤲𞤫, italic=no, Gine, wo, Gine, nqo, ߖߌ߬ߣߍ߫, bm, Gine officially the Republic of Guinea (french: République de Guinée), is a coastal country in West Africa. It borders the Atlantic Ocean to the we ...
,
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone,)]. officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea surrounds the northern half of the nation. Covering a total area of , Sierra ...
,
Liberia Liberia (), officially the Republic of Liberia, is a country on the West African coast. It is bordered by Sierra Leone to Liberia–Sierra Leone border, its northwest, Guinea to Guinea–Liberia border, its north, Ivory Coast to Ivory Coast ...
and
Côte d'Ivoire Ivory Coast, also known as Côte d'Ivoire, officially the Republic of Côte d'Ivoire, is a country on the southern coast of West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations geoscheme for ...
; * The Gold Coast region consisted of mainly modern
Ghana Ghana (; tw, Gaana, ee, Gana), officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country in West Africa. It abuts the Gulf of Guinea and the Atlantic Ocean to the south, sharing borders with Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, and ...
; * The
Bight of Benin The Bight of Benin or Bay of Benin is a bight (geography), bight in the Gulf of Guinea area on the western African coast that derives its name from the historical Kingdom of Benin. Geography It extends eastward for about from Cape St. Paul to t ...
region stretched from the
Volta River The Volta River is the main Drainage system (geomorphology), river system in the West African country of Ghana. It flows south into Ghana from the Bobo-Dioulasso highlands of Burkina Faso. The main parts of the river are the Black Volta, the Wh ...
to the
Benue River The Benue River (french: la Bénoué), previously known as the Chadda River or Tchadda, is the major tributary of the Niger River. The river is approximately long and is almost entirely navigable during the summer months. The size of its bas ...
in modern
Togo Togo (), officially the Togolese Republic (french: République togolaise), is a country in Western Africa, West Africa. It is bordered by Ghana to Ghana–Togo border, the west, Benin to Benin–Togo border, the east and Burkina Faso to Burkina ...
,
Benin Benin ( , ; french: Bénin , ff, Benen), officially the Republic of Benin (french: République du Bénin), and formerly Republic of Dahomey, Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burki ...
and southwestern
Nigeria Nigeria ( ), , ig, Naìjíríyà, yo, Nàìjíríà, pcm, Naijá , ff, Naajeeriya, kcg, Naijeriya officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of G ...
; * The
Bight of Biafra The Bight of Biafra (known as the Bight of Bonny in Nigeria) is a bight (geography), bight off the West African coast, in the easternmost part of the Gulf of Guinea. Geography The Bight of Biafra, or Mafra (named after the town Mafra, Portugal, M ...
extended from southeastern
Nigeria Nigeria ( ), , ig, Naìjíríyà, yo, Nàìjíríà, pcm, Naijá , ff, Naajeeriya, kcg, Naijeriya officially the Federal Republic of Nigeria, is a country in West Africa. It is situated between the Sahel to the north and the Gulf of G ...
through
Cameroon Cameroon (; french: Cameroun, ff, Kamerun), officially the Republic of Cameroon (french: République du Cameroun, links=no), is a country in West Africa, west-central Africa. It is bordered by Nigeria to the west and north; Chad to the nor ...
into
Gabon Gabon (; ; snq, Ngabu), officially the Gabonese Republic (french: République gabonaise), is a country on the west coast of Central Africa. Located on the equator, it is bordered by Equatorial Guinea to the northwest, Cameroon to the north, ...
; * West Central Africa, the largest region, included the Congo and
Angola , national_anthem = " Angola Avante"() , image_map = , map_caption = , capital = Luanda , religion = , religion_year = 2020 , religion_ref = , coordina ...
; and * East and Southeast Africa, the region of Mozambique-Madagascar included the modern countries of
Mozambique Mozambique (), officially the Republic of Mozambique ( pt, Moçambique or , ; ny, Mozambiki; sw, Msumbiji; ts, Muzambhiki), is a country located in southeastern Africa bordered by the Indian Ocean to the east, Tanzania to the north, Malawi ...
, parts of
Tanzania Tanzania (; ), officially the United Republic of Tanzania ( sw, Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania), is a country in East Africa within the African Great Lakes region. It borders Uganda to the north; Kenya to the northeast; Comoro Islands an ...
and
Madagascar Madagascar (; mg, Madagasikara, ), officially the Republic of Madagascar ( mg, Repoblikan'i Madagasikara, links=no, ; french: République de Madagascar), is an island country in the Indian Ocean, approximately off the coast of East Afric ...
. The largest source of slaves transported across the Atlantic Ocean for the New World was West Africa. Some West Africans were skilled iron workers and were therefore able to make tools that aided in their agricultural labor. While there were many unique tribes with their own customs and religions, by the 10th century many of the tribes had embraced Islam. Those villages in West Africa which were lucky enough to be in good conditions for growth and success, prospered. They also contributed their success to the slave trade. In all, about 10–12 million Africans were transported to the Western Hemisphere. The vast majority of these people came from that stretch of the West African coast extending from present-day Senegal to Angola; a small percentage came from Madagascar and East Africa. Only 5% (about 500,000) went to the American colonies. The vast majority went to the West Indies and Brazil, where they died quickly. Demographic conditions were highly favorable in the American colonies, with less disease, more food, some medical care, and lighter work loads than prevailed in the sugar fields. Origins and percentages of African Americans imported to the
Thirteen Colonies The Thirteen Colonies, also known as the Thirteen British Colonies, the Thirteen American Colonies, or later as the United Colonies, were a group of Kingdom of Great Britain, British Colony, colonies on the Atlantic coast of North America. Fo ...
, French and
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 encompassing the western basin of t ...
(1700–1820):


The Middle Passage

Before the
Atlantic slave trade The Atlantic slave trade, transatlantic slave trade, or Euro-American slave trade involved the transportation by slave traders of enslaved African people, mainly to the Americas. The slave trade regularly used the triangular trade route and ...
there were already people of African descent in America. A few countries in Africa would buy, sell, and trade other enslaved Africans, who were often prisoners of war, with the Europeans. The people of
Mali Mali (; ), officially the Republic of Mali,, , ff, 𞤈𞤫𞤲𞥆𞤣𞤢𞥄𞤲𞤣𞤭 𞤃𞤢𞥄𞤤𞤭, Renndaandi Maali, italics=no, ar, جمهورية مالي, Jumhūriyyāt Mālī is a landlocked country in West Africa. Mali ...
and
Benin Benin ( , ; french: Bénin , ff, Benen), officially the Republic of Benin (french: République du Bénin), and formerly Republic of Dahomey, Dahomey, is a country in West Africa. It is bordered by Togo to the west, Nigeria to the east, Burki ...
are known for partaking in the event of selling their prisoners of war and other unwanted people off as slaves.


Transport

In the account of
Olaudah Equiano Olaudah Equiano (; c. 1745 – 31 March 1797), known for most of his life as Gustavus Vassa (), was a writer and abolitionist from, according to his memoir, the Igboland, Eboe (Igbo) region of the Kingdom of Benin (today southern Nigeria). En ...
, he described the process of being transported to the colonies and being on the slave ships as a horrific experience. On the ships, the enslaved Africans were separated from their family long before they boarded the ships. Once aboard the ships the captives were then segregated by gender. Under the deck, the enslaved Africans were cramped and did not have enough space to walk around freely. Enslaved males were generally kept in the ship's hold, where they experienced the worst of crowding. The captives stationed on the floor beneath low-lying bunks could barely move and spent much of the voyage pinned to the floorboards, which could, over time, wear the skin on their elbows down to the bone. Due to the lack of basic hygiene, malnourishment, and dehydration diseases spread wildly and death was common. The women on the ships often endured rape by the crewmen. Women and children were often kept in rooms set apart from the main hold. This gave crewmen easy access to the women which was often regarded as one of the perks of the trade system. Not only did these rooms give the crewmen easy access to women but it gave enslaved women better access to information on the ship's crew, fortifications, and daily routine, but little opportunity to communicate this to the men confined in the ship's hold. As an example, women instigated a 1797 insurrection aboard the
slave ship Slave ships were large cargo ships specially built or converted from the 17th to the 19th century for transporting Slavery, slaves. Such ships were also known as "Guineamen" because the trade involved human trafficking to and from the Guinea ...
''Thomas'' by stealing weapons and passing them to the men below as well as engaging in hand-to-hand combat with the ship's crew. In the midst of these terrible conditions, enslaved Africans plotted mutiny. Enslaved males were the most likely candidates to mutiny and only at times they were on deck. While rebellions did not happen often, they were usually unsuccessful. In order for the crew members to keep the enslaved Africans under control and prevent future rebellions, the crews were often twice as large and members would instill fear into the enslaved Africans through brutality and harsh punishments. From the time of being captured in Africa to the arrival to the plantations of the European masters, took an average of six months. Africans were completely cut off from their families, home, and community life. They were forced to adjust to a new way of life.


Colonial era

Africans assisted the Spanish and the Portuguese during their early exploration of the Americas. In the 16th century some Black explorers settled in the Mississippi valley and in the areas that became South Carolina and New Mexico. The most celebrated Black explorer of the Americas was Estéban, who traveled through the Southwest in the 1530s. In 1619, the first captive Africans were brought via Dutch slave ship to Point Comfort (today
Fort Monroe Fort Monroe, managed by partnership between the Fort Monroe Authority for the Commonwealth of Virginia, the National Park Service as the Fort Monroe National Monument, and the City of Hampton, is a former military installation in Hampton, Virgi ...
in
Hampton, Virginia Hampton () is an independent city (United States), independent city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census, the population was 137,148. It is the List ...
), thirty miles downstream from
Jamestown, Virginia The Jamestown settlement in the Colony of Virginia was the first permanent British colonization of the Americas, English settlement in the Americas. It was located on the northeast bank of the James River, James (Powhatan) River about southw ...
. They had been kidnapped by Portuguese slave traders. Virginia settlers treated these captives as
indentured servants Indentured servitude is a form of Work (human activity), 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 purported eventual compensa ...
and released them after a number of years. This practice was gradually replaced by the system of chattel slavery used in the
Caribbean The Caribbean (, ) ( es, El Caribe; french: la Caraïbe; ht, Karayib; nl, De Caraïben) is a region of the Americas that consists of the Caribbean Sea, its islands (some surrounded by the Caribbean Sea and some bordering both the Caribbean ...
. When servants were freed, they became competition for resources. Additionally, released servants had to be replaced. This—combined with the ambiguous nature of the social status of Black people and the difficulty in using any other group of people as forced servants—led to the subjugation of Black people into slavery.
Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing systems, məhswatʃəwiːsət'' English: , ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous U.S. state, state in the New England ...
was the first colony to legalize slavery in 1641. Other colonies followed suit by passing laws that made slave status heritable and non-Christian imported servants slaves for life. At first, Africans in the South were outnumbered by white indentured servants who came voluntarily from Europe. They avoided the plantations. With the vast amount of arable land and a shortage of laborers, plantation owners turned to African slavery. The enslaved had some legal rights—it was a crime to kill an enslaved person, for example, and several whites were hanged for it. Generally, enslaved Africans developed their own family system, religion, and customs in the slave quarters with little interference from owners, who were only interested in work outputs. Before the 1660s, the North American mainland colonies were still fairly small in size and did not have a great demand for labour, so colonists did not import large numbers of enslaved Africans at this point.


Black population in the 1700s

By 1700 there were 25,000 enslaved Black people in the North American mainland colonies, forming roughly 10% of the population. Some enslaved Black people had been directly shipped from Africa (most of them were from 1518 to the 1850s), but initially, in the very early stages of the European colonization of North America, occasionally they had been shipped via the West Indies in small cargoes after spending time working on the islands.John Murrin, Paul Johnson, James McPherson, Alice Fahs, Gary Gerstle
"Expansion, Immigration, and Regional Differentiation"
in ''Liberty, Equality, Power: A History of the American People, Volume 1: To 1877'', Cengage Learning, 2011, p. 108.
At the same time, many were born to Africans and their descendants, and thus were native-born on the North American mainland. Their legal status was now clear: enslaved for life, with Black children inheriting the same status. As European colonists engaged in aggressive
expansionism Expansionism refers to states obtaining greater territory through military Imperialism, empire-building or colonialism. In the classical age of conquest moral justification for territorial expansion at the direct expense of another established po ...
, claiming and clearing more land for large-scale farming and the construction of plantations, the flow of enslaved Africans brought to the continent rapidly increased, beginning in the 1660s. The slave trade from the West Indies proved insufficient to meet demand in the now fast-growing North American slave market. Additionally, most North American buyers of enslaved people no longer wanted to purchase enslaved people who were coming in from the West Indies—by now they were either harder to obtain, too expensive, undesirable, or more often, they had been exhausted in many ways by the brutality of the islands' sugar plantations. From the 1680s onward, the majority of enslaved Africans imported into North America were shipped directly from Africa, and most of them disembarked in ports located in what is now the Southern U.S, particularly in the present-day states of Virginia, South Carolina, Georgia, and Louisiana. By the turn of the 18th century, enslaved Africans had come to fully supplant indentured servants in proving the labor source for the rapidly expanding plantation system of the Southern Colonies. The population of enslaved African Americans in North American grew rapidly during the 18th and early 19th centuries due to a variety of factors, including a lower prevalence of tropic diseases. Colonial society was divided over the religious and moral implications of slavery, though it remained legal in each of the Thirteen Colonies until the American Revolution. Slavery led to a gradual shift between the American South and North, both before and after independence, as the comparatively more urbanized and industrialized North required fewer slaves than the South. By the 1750s, the native-born enslaved population of African descent outnumbered that of the African-born enslaved. By the time of the American Revolution, several Northern states were considering the abolition of slavery. Some Southern colonies, such as Virginia, had produced such large and self-sustaining native-born enslaved Black populations that they stopped taking indirect imports of enslaved Africans altogether. However, other colonies such as Georgia and South Carolina still relied on a steady influx of enslaved people to keep up with the ever-growing demand for agricultural labor among the burgeoning plantation economies. These colonies continued to import enslaved Africans until the trade was outlawed in 1808, save for a temporary lull during the Revolutionary War. South Carolina's Black population remained very high for most of the eighteenth century due to the continued import of enslaved Africans, with Blacks outnumbering whites three-to-one. In contrast, Virginia maintained a white majority despite its significant Black enslaved population. It was said that in the eighteenth century, the colony South Carolina resembled an "extension of
West Africa West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of Africa. The United Nations geoscheme for Africa#Western Africa, United Nations defines Western Africa as the 16 countries of Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, ...
". Legal importation of enslaved Africans halted in 1808 when the newly formed United States outlawed the slave trade on the earliest date allowed by the Constitution. Despite the ban, small to moderate cargoes of enslaved Africans continued to be illegally brought into the U.S., only ending for good in 1859. Gradually, a free Black population emerged, concentrated in port cities along the Atlantic coast from Charleston to Boston. Enslaved people who lived in the cities and towns had more privileges than enslaved people who did not, but the great majority of enslaved people lived on southern tobacco or rice plantations, usually in groups of 20 or more. Wealthy plantation owners eventually became so reliant on slavery that they devastated their own lower class. In the years to come, the institution of slavery would be so heavily involved in the South's economy that it would divide America. The most serious slave rebellion was the 1739 Stono Uprising in South Carolina. The colony had about 56,000 enslaved Blacks, outnumbering whites two-to-one. About 150 enslaved people rose up, seizing guns, ammunition, and killing twenty whites before fleeing to Spanish Florida. The local militia soon intercepted and killed most of the slaves involved in the uprising. At this time, slavery existed in all American colonies. In the North, 2% of people owned enslaved people, most of whom were personal servants. In the south, 25% of the population relied on the labour of enslaved people. Southern slavery usually took the form of field hands who lived and worked on plantations. These statistics show the early imbalance that would eventually tip the scale and rid the United States of slavery.


American Revolution and early United States

The latter half of the 18th century was a time of significant political upheaval on the North American continent. In the midst of cries for independence from rule, many pointed out the hypocrisy inherent in colonial slaveholders' demands for freedom. The
Declaration of Independence A declaration of independence or declaration of statehood or proclamation of independence is an assertion by a polity in a defined territory that it is independence, independent and constitutes a Sovereign state, state. Such places are usually d ...
, a document which would become a
manifesto A manifesto is a published declaration of the intentions, motives, or views of the issuer, be it an individual, group, political party or government. A manifesto usually accepts a previously published opinion or Consensus decision-making, publi ...
for human rights and personal freedom around the world, was written by
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 18 ...
, a man who owned over 200 enslaved people. Other Southern statesmen were also major slaveholders. The
Second Continental Congress The Second Continental Congress was a late-18th-century meeting of delegates from the Thirteen Colonies that united in support of the American Revolutionary War. The Congress was creating a new country it first named "United Colonies" and in 1 ...
considered freeing enslaved people to assist with the war effort, but they also removed language from the Declaration of Independence that included the promotion of slavery amongst the offenses of
King George III George III (George William Frederick; 4 June 173829 January 1820) was King of Great Britain and of Monarchy of Ireland, Ireland from 25 October 1760 until Acts of Union 1800, the union of the two kingdoms on 1 January 1801, after which he was ...
. A number of free Black people, most notably Prince Hall—founder of Prince Hall Freemasonry—submitted
petition A petition is a request to do something, most commonly addressed to a government official or public entity. Petitions to a deity are a form of prayer called supplication. In the colloquial sense, a petition is a document addressed to some offici ...
s which called for abolition, but these were largely ignored. This did not deter Black people, free and enslaved, from participating in the Revolution.
Crispus Attucks Crispus Attucks ( – March 5, 1770) was an American whaler, sailor, and stevedore A stevedore (), also called a longshoreman, a docker or a dockworker, is a Dock (maritime), waterfront manual laborer who is involved in loading and unlo ...
, a free Black tradesman, was the first casualty of the
Boston Massacre The Boston Massacre (known in Kingdom of Great Britain, Great Britain as the Incident on King Street) was a confrontation in Boston on March 5, 1770, in which a group of nine British soldiers shot five people out of a crowd of three or four hu ...
and of the ensuing
American Revolutionary War The American Revolutionary War (April 19, 1775 – September 3, 1783), also known as the Revolutionary War or American War of Independence, was a major war of the American Revolution. Widely considered as the war that secured the independence of t ...
. 5,000 Black people, including Prince Hall, fought in the
Continental Army The Continental Army was the army of the United Colonies (the Thirteen Colonies) in the American Revolution, Revolutionary-era United States. It was formed by the Second Continental Congress after the outbreak of the American Revolutionary Wa ...
. Many fought side by side with
White White is the lightest color Color (American English) or colour (British English) is the visual perception, visual perceptual Physical property, property deriving from the spectrum of light interacting with the photoreceptor cells of th ...
soldiers at the
battles of Lexington and Concord The Battles of Lexington and Concord were the first military engagements of the American Revolutionary War. The battles were fought on April 19, 1775, in Middlesex County, Massachusetts, Middlesex County, Province of Massachusetts Bay, within ...
and at Bunker Hill. However, upon
George Washington George Washington (February 22, 1732, 1799) was an American military officer, statesman, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the first president of the United States from 1789 to 1797. Appointed by the ...
's ascension to commander of the Continental Army in 1775, the additional recruitment of Black people was forbidden. Approximately 5000 free African-American men helped the American Colonists in their struggle for freedom. One of these men,
Agrippa Hull Agrippa Hull (1759–1848) was a free African-American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an Race and ethnicity in the United States, ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total anc ...
, fought in the American Revolution for over six years. He and the other African-American soldiers fought in order to improve their white neighbor's views of them and advance their own fight of freedom. By contrast, the British and
Loyalists Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental ...
offered
emancipation Emancipation generally means to free a person from a previous restraint or legal disability. More broadly, it is also used for efforts to procure Economic, social and cultural rights, economic and social rights, civil and political rights, pol ...
to any enslaved person owned by a Patriot who was willing to join the Loyalist forces. Lord Dunmore, the
Governor of Virginia The governor of the Commonwealth of Virginia serves as the head of government of Virginia for a four-year term. The incumbent, Glenn Youngkin, was sworn in on January 15, 2022. Oath of office On inauguration day, the Governor-elect takes the ...
, recruited 300 African-American men into his Ethiopian regiment within a month of making this proclamation. In South Carolina 25,000 enslaved people, more than one-quarter of the total, escaped to join and fight with the British, or fled for freedom in the uproar of war. Thousands of slaves also escaped in Georgia and Virginia, as well as New England and New York. Well-known African-Americans who fought for the British include
Colonel Tye Titus Cornelius, also known as Titus, Tye, and famously as Colonel Tye ( – 1780), was a Slavery in the colonial United States, slave of Ethnic groups in Africa, African descent in the Province of New Jersey who escaped from his master and fou ...
and
Boston King Boston King ( 1760–1802) was a former American slave and Black Loyalist, who gained freedom from the British and settled in Nova Scotia after the American Revolutionary War. He later immigrated to Sierra Leone, where he helped found Freetown and b ...
. Thomas Peters was one of the large numbers of African Americans who fought for the British. Peters was born in present-day Nigeria and belonged to the Yoruba tribe, and ended up being captured and sold into slavery in
French Louisiana The term French Louisiana refers to two distinct regions: * first, to Louisiana (New France), colonial French Louisiana, comprising the massive, middle section of North America claimed by Early Modern France, France during the 17th and 18th centu ...
. Sold again, he was enslaved in
North Carolina North Carolina () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. The state is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 28th largest and List of states and territories of the United ...
and escaped his master's farm in order to receive Lord Dunmore's promise of freedom. Peters had fought for the British throughout the war. When the war finally ended, he and other African Americans who fought on the losing side were taken to Nova Scotia. Here, they encountered difficulty farming the small plots of lands they were granted. They also did not receive the same privileges and opportunities as the white
Loyalists Loyalism, in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) or Britain, is a country in Europe, off the north-western coast of the European mainland, continental ...
had. Peters sailed to London in order to complain to the government. "He arrived at a momentous time when English abolitionists were pushing a bill through Parliament to charter the
Sierra Leone Company The Sierra Leone Company was the corporate body involved in founding the Freetown, second British colony in Africa on 11 March 1792 through the resettlement of Black Loyalists who had initially been settled in Nova Scotia (the Nova Scotian Settler ...
and to grant it trading and settlement rights on the West African coast." Peters and the other African Americans on Nova Scotia left for
Sierra Leone Sierra Leone,)]. officially the Republic of Sierra Leone, is a country on the southwest coast of West Africa. It is bordered by Liberia to the southeast and Guinea surrounds the northern half of the nation. Covering a total area of , Sierra ...
in 1792. Peters died soon after they arrived, but the other members of his party lived on in their new home where they formed the
Sierra Leone Creole The Sierra Leone Creole people ( kri, Krio people) are an ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them fr ...
ethnic identity. https://www.persee.fr/doc/cea_0008-0055_1991_num_31_121_2116 Journal of Sierra Leone Studies, Vol. 3; Edition 1, 2014 https://www.academia.edu/40720522/A_Precis_of_Sources_relating_to_genealogical_research_on_the_Sierra_Leone_Krio_people, originally published by Longman & Dalhousie University Press (1976).


American Independence

The colonists eventually won the war and the United States was recognized as a sovereign nation. In the provisional treaty, they demanded the return of property, including enslaved people. Nonetheless, the British helped up to 3,000 documented African Americans to leave the country for
Nova Scotia Nova Scotia ( ; ; ) is one of the thirteen Provinces and territories of Canada, provinces and territories of Canada. It is one of the three Maritime Canada, Maritime provinces and one of the four Atlantic Canada, Atlantic provinces. Nova Scoti ...
,
Jamaica Jamaica (; ) is an island country situated in the Caribbean Sea. Spanning in area, it is the third-largest island of the Greater Antilles and the Caribbean (after Cuba and Hispaniola). Jamaica lies about south of Cuba, and west of Hisp ...
and Britain rather than be returned to slavery. The Constitutional Convention of 1787 sought to define the foundation for the government of the newly formed United States of America. The
constitution A constitution is the aggregate of fundamental principles or established precedents that constitute the legal basis of a polity A polity is an identifiable Politics, political entity – a group of people with a collective identity, who ...
set forth the ideals of freedom and equality while providing for the continuation of the institution of slavery through the
fugitive slave clause The Fugitive Slave Clause in the United States Constitution, also known as either the Slave Clause or the Fugitives From Labor Clause, is Article Four of the United States Constitution#Clause 3: Fugitive Slave Clause, Article IV, Section 2, Claus ...
and the three-fifths compromise. Additionally, free Black people's rights were also restricted in many places. Most were denied the right to vote and were excluded from public schools. Some Black people sought to fight these contradictions in court. In 1780,
Elizabeth Freeman Elizabeth Freeman ( 1744 December 28, 1829), also known as Bet, Mum Bett, or MumBet, was the first enslaved African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an Race and ethnicity in the Uni ...
and
Quock Walker Quock Walker, also known as Kwaku or Quork Walker (1753 – ?), was an American slavery, slave who sued for and won his freedom in June 1781 in a case citing language in the new Massachusetts Constitution (1780) that declared all men to be born fr ...
used language from the new
Massachusetts Massachusetts (Massachusett language, Massachusett: ''Muhsachuweesut assachusett writing systems, məhswatʃəwiːsət'' English: , ), officially the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, is the most populous U.S. state, state in the New England ...
constitution that declared all men were born free and equal in
freedom suit Freedom suits were lawsuits in the Thirteen Colonies and the United States filed by slaves against slaveholders to assert claims to freedom, often based on descent from a free maternal ancestor, or time held as a resident in a free state or ter ...
s to gain release from slavery. A free Black businessman in Boston named
Paul Cuffe Paul Cuffe, also known as Paul Cuffee (January 17, 1759 – September 7, 1817) was an American businessman, Whaling in the United States, whaler and Abolitionism in the United States, abolitionist. Born Free negro, free into a Multiracial people ...
sought to be excused from paying taxes since he had no voting rights. In the Northern states, the revolutionary spirit did help African Americans. Beginning in the 1750s, there was widespread sentiment during the American Revolution that slavery was a social evil (for the country as a whole and for the whites) that should eventually be abolished. All the Northern states passed emancipation acts between 1780 and 1804; most of these arranged for gradual emancipation and a special status for
freedmen A freedman or freedwoman is a formerly enslaved person who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, enslaved people were freed by manumission (granted freedom by their captor-owners), abolitionism, emancipation (gra ...
, so there were still a dozen "permanent apprentices" into the 19th century. In 1787 Congress passed the
Northwest Ordinance The Northwest Ordinance (formally An Ordinance for the Government of the Territory of the United States, North-West of the River Ohio and also known as the Ordinance of 1787), enacted July 13, 1787, was an organic act of the Congress of the Con ...
and barred slavery from the large Northwest Territory. In 1790, there were more than 59,000 free Black people in the United States. By 1810, that number had risen to 186,446. Most of these were in the North, but Revolutionary sentiments also motivated Southern slaveholders. For 20 years after the Revolution, more Southerners also freed enslaved people, sometimes by manumission or in wills to be accomplished after the slaveholder's death. In the Upper South, the percentage of free Black people rose from about 1% before the Revolution to more than 10% by 1810.
Quakers Quakers are people who belong to a historically Protestant Christian set of Christian denomination, denominations known formally as the Religious Society of Friends. Members of these movements ("theFriends") are generally united by a belie ...
and
Moravians Moravians ( cs, Moravané or colloquialism, colloquially , outdated ) are a West Slavs, West Slavic ethnographic group from the Moravia region of the Czech Republic, who speak the Moravian dialects of Czech language, Czech or Common Czech or a ...
worked to persuade slaveholders to free families. In Virginia, the number of free Black people increased from 10,000 in 1790 to nearly 30,000 in 1810, but 95% of Black people were still enslaved. In Delaware, three-quarters of all Black people were free by 1810. By 1860, just over 91% of Delaware's Black people were free, and 49.1% of those in Maryland. Among the successful free men was
Benjamin Banneker Benjamin Banneker (November 9, 1731October 19, 1806) was an African Americans, African-American Natural history, naturalist, mathematician, astronomer and almanac author. He was a Land tenure, landowner who also worked as a surveying, surveyor ...
, a
Maryland Maryland ( ) is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic region of the United States. It shares borders with Virginia, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia to its south and west; Pennsylvania to its north; ...
astronomer, mathematician, almanac author, surveyor, and farmer, who in 1791 assisted in the initial survey of the boundaries of the future
District of Columbia ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument and Lincoln Memorial on the National Mall, United States Capitol, Logan Circle (Washington, D.C.), Logan Circle, Jefferson Memoria ...
. Despite the challenges of living in the new country, most free Black people fared far better than the nearly 800,000 enslaved Blacks. Even so, many considered emigrating to Africa.


Religion

By 1800 a small number of slaves had joined Christian churches. Free Black people in the North set up their own networks of churches and in the South the slaves sat in the upper galleries of white churches. Central to the growth of community among Blacks was the
Black church The black church (sometimes termed Black Christianity or African American Christianity) is the faith and body of Christianity, Christian Church (congregation), congregations and Christian denomination, denominations in the United States that mi ...
, usually the first communal institution to be established. The Black church was both an expression of community and unique African-American spirituality, and a reaction to discrimination. The churches also served as neighborhood centers where free Black people could celebrate their African heritage without intrusion from white detractors. The church also served as the center of education. Since the church was part of the community and wanted to provide education; it educated the freed and enslaved Black people. Seeking autonomy, some Black people like
Richard Allen (bishop) Richard Allen (February 14, 1760March 26, 1831) was a minister, educator, writer, and one of America's most active and influential Black leaders. In 1794, he founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church The African Methodist Episcopal C ...
founded separate Black denominations. The
Second Great Awakening The Second Great Awakening was a Protestantism, Protestant religious Christian revival, revival during the early 19th century in the United States. The Second Great Awakening, which spread religion through revivals and emotional preaching, sparke ...
(1800–1830s) has been called the "central and defining event in the development of Afro-Christianity."


Antebellum period

As the United States grew, the institution of slavery became more entrenched in the southern states, while northern states began to abolish it.
Pennsylvania Pennsylvania (; (Pennsylvania Dutch language, Pennsylvania Dutch: )), officially the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, is a U.S. state, state spanning the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic, Northeastern United States, Northeastern, Appa ...
was the first, in 1780 passing an act for gradual abolition. A number of events continued to shape views on slavery. One of these events was the
Haitian Revolution The Haitian Revolution (french: révolution haïtienne ; ht, revolisyon ayisyen) was a successful insurrection by self-liberated slaves against French colonial rule in Saint-Domingue, now the sovereign state of Haiti. The revolt began on ...
, which was the only slave revolt that led to an independent country. Many slave owners fled to the United States with tales of horror and massacre that alarmed Southern whites. The invention of the
cotton gin A cotton gin—meaning "cotton engine"—is a machine that quickly and easily separates cotton fibers from their seeds, enabling much greater productivity than manual cotton separation.. Reprinted by McGraw-Hill, New York and London, 1926 (); ...
in the 1790s allowed the cultivation of short staple cotton, which could be grown in much of the Deep South, where warm weather and proper soil conditions prevailed. The industrial revolution in Europe and New England generated a heavy demand for cotton for cheap clothing, which caused an enormous demand for slave labor to develop new cotton plantations. There was a 70% increase in the number of slaves in the United States in only 20 years. They were overwhelmingly concentrated on plantations in the
Deep South The Deep South or the Lower South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south are commonly used to define a subregion. U ...
, and moved west as old cotton fields lost their productivity and new lands were purchased. Unlike the Northern States who put more focus into manufacturing and commerce, the South was heavily dependent on agriculture. Southern political economists at this time supported the institution by concluding that nothing was inherently contradictory about owning slaves and that a future of slavery existed even if the South were to industrialize. Racial, economic, and political turmoil reached an all-time high regarding slavery up to the events of the Civil War. In 1807, at the urging of President
Thomas Jefferson Thomas Jefferson (April 13, 1743 – July 4, 1826) was an American statesman, diplomat, lawyer, architect, philosopher, and Founding Fathers of the United States, Founding Father who served as the third president of the United States from 18 ...
, Congress abolished the importation of enslaved workers. While American Black people celebrated this as a victory in the fight against slavery, the ban increased the internal trade in enslaved people. Changing agricultural practices in the Upper South from tobacco to mixed farming decreased labor requirements, and enslaved people were sold to traders for the developing Deep South. In addition, the
Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 The Fugitive Slave Act of 1793 was an Act of the United States Congress to give effect to the Fugitive Slave Clause of the US Constitution (Article Four of the United States Constitution#Clause 3: Fugitive Slave Clause, Article IV, Section 2, Cla ...
allowed any Black person to be claimed as a runaway unless a White person testified on their behalf. A number of free Black people, especially
indentured An indenture is a legal contract that reflects or covers a debt or purchase obligation. It specifically refers to two types of practices: in historical usage, an indentured servant status, and in modern usage, it is an instrument used for commercia ...
children, were
kidnap In criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It prescribes conduct perceived as threatening, harmful, or otherwise endangering to the property, health, safety, and welfare, moral welfare of people inclusive of one ...
ped and sold into slavery with little or no hope of rescue. By 1819 there were exactly 11 free and 11 slave states, which increased
sectionalism Sectionalism is loyalty to one's own region or section of the country, rather than to the country as a whole. Sectionalism occurs in many countries, such as in the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, c ...
. Fears of an imbalance in Congress led to the 1820
Missouri Compromise The Missouri Compromise was a federal legislation of the 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 Continental United States, primarily located i ...
that required states to be admitted to the union in pairs, one slave and one free. In 1850, after winning the
Mexican-American War Mexican Americans ( es, mexicano-estadounidenses, , or ) are Americans of full or partial Mexicans, Mexican heritage. In 2019, Mexican Americans comprised 11.3% of the US population and 61.5% of all Hispanic and Latino Americans. In 2019, 71% ...
, a problem gripped the nation: what to do about the territories won from Mexico. Henry Clay, the man behind the compromise of 1820, once more rose to the challenge, to craft 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 t ...
. In this compromise the territories of New Mexico, Arizona, Utah, and Nevada would be organized but the issue of slavery would be decided later. Washington D.C. would abolish the slave trade but not slavery itself. California would be admitted as a free state but the South would receive a new fugitive slave act which required Northerners to return enslaved people who escaped to the North to their owners. The compromise of 1850 would maintain a shaky peace until the election of Lincoln in 1860. In 1851 the battle between enslaved people and slave owners was met in
Lancaster County, Pennsylvania Lancaster County (; Pennsylvania Dutch language, Pennsylvania Dutch: Lengeschder Kaundi), sometimes nicknamed the Garden Spot of America or Pennsylvania Dutch Country, is a County (United States), county in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Common ...
. The Christiana Riot demonstrated the growing conflict between
states' rights In United States, American politics of the United States, political discourse, states' rights are political powers held for the state governments of the United States, state governments rather than the federal government of the United States, fe ...
and Congress on the issue of slavery.


Abolitionism

Abolitionists Abolitionism, or the abolitionist movement, is the movement to end slavery. In Western Europe and the Americas, abolitionism was a historic movement that sought to end the Atlantic slave trade and liberate the enslaved people. The British ...
in Britain and the United States in the 1840–1860 period developed large, complex campaigns against slavery. According to Patrick C. Kennicott, the largest and most effective abolitionist speakers were Black people who spoke before the countless local meetings of the National Negro Conventions. They used the traditional arguments against slavery, protesting it on moral, economic, and political grounds. Their role in the antislavery movement not only aided the abolitionist cause but also was a source of pride to the Black community. In 1852,
Harriet Beecher Stowe Harriet Elisabeth Beecher Stowe (; June 14, 1811 – July 1, 1896) was an American author and Abolitionism in the United States, abolitionist. She came from the religious Beecher family and became best known for her novel ''Uncle Tom's Cabi ...
published a novel that changed how many would view slavery. ''
Uncle Tom's Cabin ''Uncle Tom's Cabin; or, Life Among the Lowly'' is an anti-slavery novel by American literature, American author Harriet Beecher Stowe. Published in two Volume (bibliography), volumes in 1852, the novel had a profound effect on attitudes towa ...
'' tells the story of the life of an enslaved person and the brutality that is faced by that life day after day. It would sell over 100,000 copies in its first year. The popularity of ''Uncle Tom's Cabin'' would solidify the North in its opposition to slavery, and press forward the abolitionist movement. President Lincoln would later invite Stowe to the White House in honor of this book that changed America. In 1856
Charles Sumner Charles Sumner (January 6, 1811March 11, 1874) was an American statesman and United States Senator from Massachusetts. As an academic lawyer and a powerful orator, Sumner was the leader of the anti-slavery forces in the state and a leader of th ...
, a Massachusetts congressmen and antislavery leader, was assaulted and nearly killed on the House floor by Preston Brooks of South Carolina. Sumner had been delivering an abolitionist speech to Congress when Brooks attacked him. Brooks received praise in the South for his actions while Sumner became a political icon in the North. Sumner later returned to the Senate, where he was a leader of the
Radical Republicans The Radical Republicans (later also known as "Stalwarts (politics), Stalwarts") were a faction within the History of the Republican Party (United States), Republican Party, originating from the party's History of the Republican Party (United Sta ...
in ending slavery and legislating equal rights for freed slaves. Over 1 million enslaved people were moved from the older seaboard slave states, with their declining economies, to the rich cotton states of the southwest; many others were sold and moved locally. Ira Berlin (2000) argues that this Second Middle Passage shredded the planters' paternalist pretenses in the eyes of Black people and prodded enslaved people and free Black people to create a host of oppositional ideologies and institutions that better accounted for the realities of endless deportations, expulsions, and flights that continually remade their world. Benjamin Quarles' work ''Black Abolitionists'' provides the most extensive account of the role of Black abolitionists in the American anti-slavery movement.


The Black community

Black people generally settled in cities, creating the core of Black community life in the region. They established churches and fraternal orders. Many of these early efforts were weak and they often failed, but they represented the initial steps in the evolution of Black communities. During the early Antebellum period, the creation of free Black communities began to expand, laying out a foundation for African Americans' future. At first, only a few thousand African Americans had their freedom. As the years went by, the number of Blacks being freed expanded tremendously, building to 233,000 by the 1820s. They sometimes sued to gain their freedom or purchased it. Some slave owners freed their bondspeople and a few state legislatures abolished slavery. African Americans tried to take the advantage of establishing homes and jobs in the cities. During the early 1800s free Black people took several steps to establish fulfilling work lives in urban areas. The rise of industrialization, which depended on power-driven machinery more than human labor, might have afforded them employment, but many owners of textile mills refused to hire Black workers. These owners considered whites to be more reliable and educable. This resulted in many Black people performing unskilled labor. Black men worked as
stevedore A stevedore (), also called a longshoreman, a docker or a dockworker, is a Dock (maritime), waterfront manual laborer who is involved in loading and unloading ships, trucks, rail transport, trains or air transport, airplanes. After the Intermoda ...
s,
construction worker A construction worker is a worker employed in the physical construction of the built environment and its infrastructure. Definition By some definitions, workers may be engaged in manual labour as unskilled or semi-skilled workers; they may be sk ...
, and as cellar-, well- and grave-diggers. As for Black women workers, they worked as servants for white families. Some women were also cooks, seamstresses, basket-makers, midwives, teachers, and nurses. Black women worked as washerwomen or domestic servants for the white families. Some cities had independent Black seamstresses, cooks, basketmakers, confectioners, and more. While the African Americans left the thought of slavery behind, they made a priority to reunite with their family and friends. The cause of the Revolutionary War forced many Black people to migrate to the west afterwards, and the scourge of poverty created much difficulty with housing. African Americans competed with the Irish and Germans in jobs and had to share space with them. While the majority of free Black people lived in poverty, some were able to establish successful businesses that catered to the Black community.
Racial discrimination Racial discrimination is any discrimination Discrimination is the act of making unjustified distinctions between people based on the groups, classes, or other categories to which they belong or are perceived to belong. People may be discrim ...
often meant that Black people were not welcome or would be mistreated in White businesses and other establishments. To counter this, Black people like
James Forten James Forten (September 2, 1766March 4, 1842) was an African-American abolitionist and wealthy businessman in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Born free in the city, he became a sailmaker after the American Revolutionary War The American Revolu ...
developed their own communities with Black-owned businesses. Black doctors, lawyers, and other businessmen were the foundation of the Black
middle class The middle class refers to a Social class, class of people in the middle of a social hierarchy, often defined by job, occupation, income, education, or social status. The term has historically been associated with modernity, capitalism and poli ...
. Many Black people organized to help strengthen the Black community and continue the fight against slavery. One of these organizations was the American Society of Free Persons of Colour, founded in 1830. This organization provided social aid to poor Black people and organized responses to political issues. Further supporting the growth of the Black Community was the
Black church The black church (sometimes termed Black Christianity or African American Christianity) is the faith and body of Christianity, Christian Church (congregation), congregations and Christian denomination, denominations in the United States that mi ...
, usually the first community institution to be established. Starting in the early 1800s with the
African Methodist Episcopal Church The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the AME Church or AME, is a Black church, predominantly African American Methodist Religious denomination, denomination. It adheres to Wesleyan-Arminian theology and has a connexionalism, c ...
,
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church African or Africans 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 *** Ethn ...
and other churches, the Black church grew to be the focal point of the Black community. The Black church was both an expression of community and unique African-American spirituality, and a reaction to European American discrimination. The church also served as neighborhood centers where free Black people could celebrate their African heritage without intrusion by white detractors. The church was the center of the Black communities, but it was also the center of education. Since the church was part of the community and wanted to provide education; they educated the freed and enslaved Black people. At first, Black preachers formed separate congregations within the existing denominations, such as social clubs or literary societies. Because of discrimination at the higher levels of the church hierarchy, some Black people like
Richard Allen (bishop) Richard Allen (February 14, 1760March 26, 1831) was a minister, educator, writer, and one of America's most active and influential Black leaders. In 1794, he founded the African Methodist Episcopal Church The African Methodist Episcopal C ...
simply founded separate Black denominations. Free Black people also established Black churches in the South before 1800. After the
Great Awakening Great Awakening refers to a number of periods of religious revival in American Christian history. Historians and theologians identify three, or sometimes four, waves of increased religious enthusiasm between the early 18th century and the lat ...
, many Black people joined the
Baptist Church Baptists form a major branch of Protestantism distinguished by baptizing professing Christianity, Christian believers only (believer's baptism), and doing so by complete Immersion baptism, immersion. Baptist churches also generally subscribe ...
, which allowed for their participation, including roles as elders and preachers. For instance, First Baptist Church and Gillfield Baptist Church of
Petersburg, Virginia Petersburg is an independent city (United States), independent city in the Commonwealth (U.S. state), Commonwealth of Virginia in the United States. As of the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census, the population was 33,458. The Bureau of Econ ...
, both had organized congregations by 1800 and were the first Baptist churches in the city. Petersburg, an industrial city, by 1860 had 3,224 free Black people (36% of Black people, and about 26% of all free persons), the largest population in the South. In Virginia, free Black people also created communities in
Richmond, Virginia (Thus do we reach the stars) , image_map = , mapsize = 250 px , map_caption = Location within Virginia , pushpin_map = Virginia#USA , pushpin_label = Richmond , pushpin_m ...
and other towns, where they could work as artisans and create businesses. Others were able to buy land and farm in frontier areas further from white control. The Black community also established schools for Black children, since they were often banned from entering public schools. Richard Allen organized the first Black Sunday school in America; it was established in Philadelphia during 1795. Then five years later, the priest
Absalom Jones Absalom Jones (November 7, 1746February 13, 1818) was an African-American Abolitionism in the United States, abolitionist and clergyman who became prominent in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. Disappointed at the racial discrimination he experienced in ...
established a school for Black youth. Black Americans regarded education as the surest path to economic success, moral improvement and personal happiness. Only the sons and daughters of the Black middle class had the luxury of studying.


Haiti's effect on slavery

The revolt of enslaved Hatians against their white slave owners, which began in 1791 and lasted until 1801, was a primary source of fuel for both enslaved people and abolitionists arguing for the freedom of Africans in the U.S. In the 1833 edition of ''Nile's Weekly Register'' it is stated that freed Black people in Haiti were better off than their Jamaican counterparts, and the positive effects of American Emancipation are alluded to throughout the paper. These anti-slavery sentiments were popular among both white abolitionists and African-American slaves. Enslaved people rallied around these ideas with rebellions against their masters as well as white bystanders during the Denmark Vesey Conspiracy of 1822 and the Nat Turner Rebellion of 1831. Leaders and plantation owners were also very concerned about the consequences Haiti's revolution would have on early America. Thomas Jefferson, for one, was wary of the "instability of the West Indies", referring to Haiti.


Dred Scott v. Sandford

Dred Scott Dred Scott (c. 1799 – September 17, 1858) was an Slavery in the United States, enslaved African Americans, African American man who, along with his wife, Harriet Robinson Scott, Harriet, unsuccessfully sued for freedom for themselves and thei ...
was an enslaved man whose owner had taken him to live in the free state of Illinois. After his owner's death, Dred Scott sued in court for his freedom on the basis of his having lived in a free state for a long period. The Black community received an enormous shock with the Supreme Court's "Dred Scott" decision in March 1857. Black people were not American citizens and could never be citizens, the court said in a decision roundly denounced by the Republican Party as well as the abolitionists. Because enslaved people were "property, not people", by this ruling they could not sue in court. The decision was finally reversed by the Civil Rights Act of 1865. In what is sometimes considered mere
obiter dictum ''Obiter dictum'' (usually used in the plural, ''obiter dicta'') is a Latin phrase meaning "other things said",''Black's Law Dictionary'', p. 967 (5th ed. 1979). that is, a remark in a legal opinion that is "said in passing" by any judge or arbitr ...
the Court went on to hold that Congress had no authority to prohibit slavery in federal territories because enslaved people are personal property and the Fifth Amendment to the Constitution protects property owners against deprivation of their property without due process of law. Although the Supreme Court has never explicitly overruled the Dred Scott case, the Court stated in the
Slaughter-House Cases The ''Slaughter-House Cases'', 83 U.S. (16 Wall.) 36 (1873), was a landmark U.S. Supreme Court decision consolidating several cases that held that the Privileges or Immunities Clause The Privileges or Immunities Clause is Amendment XIV, Sectio ...
that at least one part of it had already been overruled by the Fourteenth Amendment in 1868, which begins by stating, "All persons born or naturalized in the United States and subject to the jurisdiction thereof, are citizens of the United States and of the State wherein they reside."


American Civil War and Emancipation

The
Emancipation Proclamation The Emancipation Proclamation, officially Proclamation 95, was a presidential proclamation and executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War, Civil War. The Proclamation c ...
was an executive order issued by President
Abraham Lincoln Abraham Lincoln ( ; February 12, 1809 – April 15, 1865) was an American lawyer, politician, and statesman who served as the 16th president of the United States from 1861 until his assassination in 1865. Lincoln led the nation throu ...

Abraham Lincoln
on January 1, 1863. In a single stroke it changed the legal status, as recognized by the U.S. government, of 3 million enslaved people in designated areas of the Confederacy from "slave" to "free." Its practical effect was that as soon as an enslaved person escaped from slavery, by running away or through advances of federal troops, the enslaved person became legally and actually free. The owners were never compensated. Plantation owners, realizing that emancipation would destroy their economic system, sometimes moved their enslaved people as far as possible out of reach of the Union army. By June 1865, the Union Army controlled all of the Confederacy and liberated all the designated enslaved people. About 200,000 free Black people and former enslaved people served in the Union Army and Navy, thus providing a basis for a claim to full citizenship. The dislocations of war and Reconstruction had a severe negative impact on the Black population, with much sickness and death.


Reconstruction

The
Civil Rights Act of 1866 The Civil Rights Act of 1866 (, enacted April 9, 1866, reenacted 1870) was the first United States federal law to define citizenship and affirm that all citizens are equally protected by the law. It was mainly intended, in the wake of the Amer ...
made Black people full U.S. citizens (and this repealed the ''Dred Scott'' decision). In 1868, the 14th Amendment granted full U.S. citizenship to African Americans. The 15th Amendment, ratified in 1870, extended the right to vote to Black males. The
Freedmen's Bureau The Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen, and Abandoned Lands, usually referred to as simply the Freedmen's Bureau, was an agency of early Reconstruction era of the United States, Reconstruction, assisting freedmen in the South. It was established on M ...
was an important institution established to create social and economic order in Southern states. After the Union victory over the Confederacy, a brief period of Southern Black progress, called Reconstruction, followed. During Reconstruction the states that had seceded were readmitted into the Union. From 1865 to 1877, under protection of Union troops, some strides were made toward equal rights for African Americans. Southern Black men began to vote and were elected to the
United States Congress The United States Congress is the legislature of the federal government of the United States. It is Bicameralism, bicameral, composed of a lower body, the United States House of Representatives, House of Representatives, and an upper body, ...
and to local offices such as sheriff. The safety provided by the troops did not last long, however, and white Southerners frequently terrorized Black voters. Coalitions of white and Black Republicans passed bills to establish the first public school systems in most states of the South, although sufficient funding was hard to find. Black people established their own churches, towns, and businesses. Tens of thousands migrated to Mississippi for the chance to clear and own their own land, as 90 percent of the bottomlands were undeveloped. By the end of the 19th century, two-thirds of the farmers who owned land in the
Mississippi Delta The Mississippi Delta, also known as the Yazoo–Mississippi Delta, or simply the Delta, is the distinctive northwest section of the U.S. state of Mississippi (and portions of Arkansas and Louisiana) that lies between the Mississippi River, Mi ...
bottomlands were Black. Hiram Revels became the first African-American senator in the U.S. Congress in 1870. Other African Americans soon came to Congress from South Carolina, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. These new politicians supported the Republicans and tried to bring further improvements to the lives of African Americans. Revels and others understood that white people may have felt threatened by the African-American congressmen. Revels stated, "The white race has no better friend than I. I am true to my own race. I wish to see all done that can be done...to assist lack menn acquiring property, in becoming intelligent, enlightened citizens...but at the same time, I would not have anything done which would harm the white race," Blanche K. Bruce was the other African American who became a U.S. senator during this period. African Americans elected to the House of Representatives during this time included Benjamin S. Turner, Josiah T. Walls, Joseph H. Rainey, Robert Brown Elliot, Robert D. De Large, and Jefferson H. Long.
Frederick Douglass Frederick Douglass (born Frederick Augustus Washington Bailey, February 1817 or 1818 – February 20, 1895) was an American social reformer, abolitionist, orator, writer, and statesman. After escaping from slavery in Maryland, he became a ...
also served in the different government jobs during Reconstruction, including Minister Resident and Counsel General to Haiti, Recorder of Deeds, and U.S. Marshall. Bruce became a Senator in 1874 and represented the state of Mississippi. He worked with white politicians from his region in order to hopefully help his fellow African Americans and other minority groups such as Chinese immigrants and Native Americans. He even supported efforts to end restrictions on former Confederates' political participation. The aftermath of the Civil War accelerated the process of a national African American
identity formation Identity formation, also called identity development or identity construction, is a complex process in which humans develop a clear and unique view of themselves and of their identity. Self-concept In the psychology of self, one's self-conc ...
. Some civil rights activists, such as W. E. B. Du Bois, disagree that identity was achieved after the Civil War. African Americans in the post-Civil War era were faced with many rules and regulations that, even though they were "free", prevented them from enjoying the same amount of freedom as white citizens had. Tens of thousands of Black northerners left homes and careers and also migrated to the defeated South, building schools, printing newspapers, and opening businesses. As Joel Williamson puts it:
Many of the migrants, women as well as men, came as teachers sponsored by a dozen or so benevolent societies, arriving in the still turbulent wake of Union armies. Others came to organize relief for the refugees.... Still others ... came south as religious missionaries.... Some came south as business or professional people seeking opportunity on this ... special Black frontier. Finally, thousands came as soldiers, and when the war was over, many of
heir Inheritance is the practice of receiving private property, Title (property), titles, debts, entitlements, Privilege (law), privileges, rights, and Law of obligations, obligations upon the death of an individual. The rules of inheritance differ ...
young men remained there or returned after a stay of some months in the North to complete their education.


Nadir of American race relations

The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for Black Americans. In reality, this led to treatment and accommodations that were usually inferior to those provided for white Americans, systematizing a number of economic, educational and social disadvantages. In the face of years of mounting violence and intimidation directed at Blacks as well as whites sympathetic to their cause, the U.S. government retreated from its pledge to guarantee constitutional protections to freedmen and women. When President Rutherford B. Hayes withdrew Union troops from the South in 1877 as a result of a national compromise on the election, Black people lost most of their political power. Men like
Benjamin "Pap" Singleton Benjamin "Pap" Singleton (1809 – February 17, 1900) was an American activist and businessman best known for his role in establishing African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an Race ...
began speaking of leaving the South. This idea culminated in the 1879–80 movement of the Exodusters, who migrated to Kansas, where Blacks had much more freedom and it was easier to acquire land. When Democrats took control of Tennessee in 1888, they passed laws making voter registration more complicated and ended the most competitive political state in the South. Voting by Black people in rural areas and small towns dropped sharply, as did voting by poor whites. From 1890 to 1908, starting with Mississippi and ending with Georgia, ten of eleven Southern states adopted new constitutions or amendments that effectively
disenfranchised Disfranchisement, also called disenfranchisement, or voter disqualification is the restriction of suffrage (the right to vote) of a person or group of people, or a practice that has the effect of preventing a person exercising the right to vote. D ...
most Black people and many poor whites. Using a combination of provisions such as
poll taxes A poll tax, also known as head tax or capitation, is a tax levied as a fixed sum on every liable individual (typically every adult), without reference to income or resources. Head taxes were important sources of revenue for many governments fr ...
, residency requirements and
literacy test A literacy test assesses a person's literacy Literacy in its broadest sense describes "particular ways of thinking about and doing reading and writing" with the purpose of understanding or expressing thoughts or ideas in Writing, written ...
s, states dramatically decreased Black voter registration and turnout, in some cases to zero.Richard H. Pildes, "Democracy, Anti-Democracy, and the Canon"
''Constitutional Commentary'', Vol. 17, 2000, pp. 12–13, accessed March 10, 2008.
The
grandfather clause A grandfather clause, also known as grandfather policy, grandfathering, or grandfathered in, is a provision in which an old rule continues to apply to some existing situations while a new rule will apply to all future cases. Those exempt from t ...
was used in many states temporarily to exempt illiterate white voters from literacy tests. As power became concentrated under the Democratic Party in the South, the party positioned itself as a private club and instituted white primaries, closing Black people out of the only competitive contests. By 1910 one-party white rule was firmly established across the South. Although African Americans quickly started litigation to challenge such provisions, early court decisions at the state and national level went against them. In '' Williams v. Mississippi'' (1898), the US
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
upheld state provisions. This encouraged other Southern states to adopt similar measures over the next few years, as noted above. Booker T. Washington, of
Tuskegee Institute Tuskegee University (Tuskegee or TU), formerly known as the Tuskegee Institute, is a private, historically black land-grant university A land-grant university (also called land-grant college or land-grant institution) is an institution of ...
secretly worked with Northern supporters to raise funds and provide representation for African Americans in additional cases, such as '' Giles v. Harris'' (1903) and '' Giles v. Teasley'' (1904), but again the Supreme Court upheld the states. Segregation for the first time became a standard legal process in the South; it was informal in Northern cities. Jim Crow limited Black access to transportation, schools, restaurants and other public facilities. Most southern blacks for decades continued to struggle in grinding poverty as agricultural, domestic and menial laborers. Many became
sharecroppers Sharecropping is a legal arrangement with regard to agricultural land in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on that land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range ...
, sharing the crop with the white land owners..


Racial terrorism

In 1865, the
Ku Klux Klan The Ku Klux Klan (), commonly shortened to the KKK or the Klan, is an American white supremacist, Right-wing terrorism, right-wing terrorist, and hate group whose primary targets are African Americans, Jews, Hispanic and Latino Americans, L ...
, a secret
white supremacist 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 polit ...
criminal In ordinary language, a crime is an unlawful act punishable by a state or other authority. The term ''crime'' does not, in modern criminal law Criminal law is the body of law that relates to crime. It prescribes conduct perceived as thre ...
organization dedicated to destroying the Republican Party in the South, especially by terrorizing Black leaders, was formed. Klansmen hid behind masks and robes to hide their identity while they carried out violence and property damage. The Klan used
terrorism Terrorism, in its broadest sense, is the use of criminal violence to provoke a state of terror or fear, mostly with the intention to achieve political or religious aims. The term is used in this regard primarily to refer to intentional violen ...
, especially murder and threats of murder, arson and intimidation. The Klan's excesses led to the passage of legislation against it, and with Federal enforcement, it was destroyed by 1871. The anti-Republican and anti-freedmen sentiment only briefly went underground, as violence arose in other incidents, especially after Louisiana's disputed state election in 1872, which contributed to the Colfax and Coushatta massacres in Louisiana in 1873 and 1874. Tensions and rumors were high in many parts of the South. When violence erupted, African Americans consistently were killed at a much higher rate than were European Americans. Historians of the 20th century have renamed events long called "riots" in southern history. The common stories featured whites heroically saving the community from marauding Black people. Upon examination of the evidence, historians have called numerous such events "massacres", as at Colfax, because of the disproportionate number of fatalities for Black people as opposed to whites. The mob violence there resulted in 40–50 Black people dead for each of the three whites killed."Military Report on Colfax Riot, 1875", from the ''Congressional Record''
accessed 6 April 2008. A state historical marker erected in 1950 noted that 150 blacks died and three whites.
While not as widely known as the Klan, the paramilitary organizations that arose in the South during the mid-1870s as the white Democrats mounted a stronger insurgency, were more directed and effective than the Klan in challenging Republican governments, suppressing the Black vote and achieving political goals. Unlike the Klan, paramilitary members operated openly, often solicited newspaper coverage, and had distinct political goals: to turn Republicans out of office and suppress or dissuade Black voting in order to regain power in 1876. Groups included the
White League The White League, also known as the White Man's League, was a white paramilitary A paramilitary is an organization whose structure, tactics, training, subculture, and (often) function are similar to those of a professional military, but is ...
, that started from white militias in Grant Parish, Louisiana, in 1874 and spread in the
Deep South The Deep South or the Lower South is a cultural and geographic subregion A subregion is a part of a larger region or continent and is usually based on location. Cardinal directions, such as south are commonly used to define a subregion. U ...
; the Red Shirts, that started in Mississippi in 1875 but had chapters arise and was prominent in the 1876 election campaign in South Carolina, as well as in North Carolina; and other White Line organizations such as rifle clubs. The
Jim Crow The Jim Crow laws were U.S. state, state and local laws enforcing Racial segregation in the United States, racial segregation in the Southern United States. Other areas of the United States were affected by formal and informal policies of ...
era accompanied the most cruel wave of "racial" suppression that America has yet experienced. Between 1890 and 1940, millions of African Americans were disenfranchised, killed, and brutalized. According to newspaper records kept at the
Tuskegee Institute Tuskegee University (Tuskegee or TU), formerly known as the Tuskegee Institute, is a private, historically black land-grant university A land-grant university (also called land-grant college or land-grant institution) is an institution of ...
, about 5,000 men, women, and children were murdered in documented extrajudicial mob violence—called "
lynching Lynching is an extrajudicial killing by a group. It is most often used to characterize informal public executions by a mob in order to punish an alleged transgressor, punish a convicted transgressor, or intimidate people. It can also be an ex ...
s." The journalist Ida B. Wells estimated that lynchings not reported by the newspapers, plus similar executions under the veneer of "
due process Due process of law is application by State (polity), state of all legal rules and principles pertaining to the case so all legal rights that are owed to the person are respected. Due process balances the power of law of the land and protects the ...
", may have amounted to about 20,000 killings. Of the tens of thousands of lynchers and onlookers during this period, it is reported that fewer than 50 whites were ever indicted for their crimes, and only four were sentenced. Because Black people were disenfranchised, they could not sit on juries or have any part in the political process, including local offices. Meanwhile, the lynchings were used as a weapon of terror to keep millions of African-Americans living in a constant state of anxiety and fear. Most Black people were denied their
right to keep and bear arms The right to keep and bear arms (often referred to as the right to bear arms) is a right for people to possess weapons (arms) for the preservation of life, liberty, and property. The purpose of gun rights is for Self-defense#Armed, self-defens ...
under Jim Crow laws, and they were therefore unable to protect themselves or their families.


Early civil rights movement

In response to these and other setbacks, in the summer of 1905, W. E. B. Du Bois and 28 other prominent, African-American men met secretly at
Niagara Falls, Ontario Niagara Falls is a city in Ontario, Canada. It is on the western bank of the Niagara River in the Golden Horseshoe region of Southern Ontario, with a population of 88,071 at the Canada 2016 Census, 2016 census. It is part of the List of census ...
. There, they produced a manifesto calling for an end to racial discrimination, full civil liberties for African Americans and recognition of human brotherhood. The organization they established came to be called the
Niagara Movement The Niagara Movement (NM) was a black civil rights organization founded in 1905 by a group of activists—many of whom were among the vanguard of African-American lawyers in the United States—led by W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter. I ...
. After the notorious
Springfield, Illinois Springfield is the capital of the U.S. state of Illinois and the county seat and largest city of Sangamon County, Illinois, Sangamon County. The city's population was 114,394 at the 2020 United States Census, 2020 census, which makes it the stat ...
race riot of 1908, a group of concerned Whites joined with the leadership of the Niagara Movement and formed the
National Association for the Advancement of Colored People The National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) is a civil rights organization in the United States, formed in 1909 as an interracial endeavor to advance justice for African Americans by a group including W. E.&nb ...
(NAACP) a year later, in 1909. Under the leadership of Du Bois, the NAACP mounted legal challenges to segregation and lobbied legislatures on behalf of Black Americans. While the NAACP use the court system to promote equality, at the local level African Americans adopted a self-help strategy. They pooled their resources to create independent community and institutional lives for themselves. They established schools, churches, social welfare institutions, banks,
African-American newspapers African-American newspapers (also known as the Black press or Black newspapers) are news publications in the 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 ...
and small businesses to serve the needs of their communities. The main organizer of national and local self-help organizations was Alabama educator Booker T. Washington. Some
Progressive Era The Progressive Era (late 1890s – late 1910s) was a period of widespread social activism and political reform across the United States focused on defeating corruption, monopoly, waste and inefficiency. The main themes ended during Am ...
reformers were concerned with the Black condition. In 1908 after the 1906 Atlanta Race Riot got him involved,
Ray Stannard Baker Ray Stannard Baker (April 17, 1870 – July 12, 1946) (also known by his pen name David Grayson) was an American journalist, historian, biographer, and author. Biography Baker was born in Lansing, Michigan. After graduating from the Michigan ...
published the book ''Following the Color Line: An Account of Negro Citizenship in the American Democracy'', becoming the first prominent journalist to examine America's racial divide; it was extremely successful. Sociologist Rupert Vance says it is: :the best account of race relations in the South during the period—one that reads like field notes for the future historian. This account was written during the zenith of Washingtonian movement and shows the optimism that it inspired among both liberals and moderates. The book is also notable for its realistic accounts of Negro town life.


Great Migration and the Harlem Renaissance

During the first half of the 20th century, the largest internal population shift in U.S. history took place. Starting about 1910, through the Great Migration over five million African Americans made choices and "voted with their feet" by moving from the South to northern and western cities in hopes of escaping political discrimination and hatred, violence, finding better jobs, voting and enjoying greater equality and education for their children. In the 1920s, the concentration of Black people in New York led to the cultural movement known as the
Harlem Renaissance The Harlem Renaissance was an intellectual and cultural revival of African American music, dance, art, fashion, literature, theater, politics and scholarship centered in Harlem, Manhattan, New York City, spanning the 1920s and 1930s. At the t ...
, whose influence reached nationwide. Black intellectual and cultural circles were influenced by thinkers such as
Aimé Césaire Aimé Fernand David Césaire (; ; 26 June 1913 – 17 April 2008) was a French poet, author, and politician A politician is a person active in party politics, or a person holding or seeking an elected office in government ...
and Léopold Sédar Senghor, who celebrated Blackness, or
négritude ''Négritude'' (from French "Nègre" and "-itude" to denote a condition that can be translated as "Blackness") is a framework of critique and literary theory, developed mainly by francophone intellectuals, writers, and politicians of the Africa ...
; arts and letters flourished. Writers
Zora Neale Hurston Zora Neale Hurston (January 7, 1891 – January 28, 1960) was an American author, anthropologist, and filmmaker. She portrayed racial struggles in the early-1900s American South and published research on Hoodoo (spirituality), hoodoo. The most ...
,
Langston Hughes James Mercer Langston Hughes (February 1, 1901 – May 22, 1967) was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist from Joplin, Missouri. One of the earliest innovators of the literary art form called jazz poetry, Hug ...
, Nella Larsen,
Claude McKay Festus Claudius "Claude" McKay OJ (September 15, 1890See Wayne F. Cooper, ''Claude McKay, Rebel Sojourner In The Harlem Renaissance (New York, Schocken, 1987) p. 377 n. 19. As Cooper's authoritative biography explains, McKay's family predated ...
and Richard Wright; and artists Lois Mailou Jones, William H. Johnson,
Romare Bearden Romare Bearden (September 2, 1911 – March 12, 1988) was an American artist, author, and songwriter. He worked with many types of media including cartoons, oils, and collages. Born in Charlotte, North Carolina, Bearden grew up in New York City a ...
,
Jacob Lawrence Jacob Armstead Lawrence (September 7, 1917 – June 9, 2000) was an American Painting, painter known for his portrayal of African-American historical subjects and contemporary life. Lawrence referred to his style as "dynamic cubism", although by ...
and Archibald Motley gained prominence. The
South Side of Chicago The South Side is an area of Chicago, Illinois, U.S. It lies south of the city's Chicago Loop, Loop area in the downtown. Geographically, it is the largest of the three sides of the city that radiate from downtown, with the other two being the ...
, a destination for many on the trains up from Mississippi, Arkansas and Louisiana, joined Harlem as a sort of Black capital for the nation. It generated flourishing businesses, music, arts and foods. A new generation of powerful African-American political leaders and organizations also came to the fore, Typified by Congressman William Dawson (1886–1970). Membership in the NAACP rapidly increased as it mounted an anti-lynching campaign in reaction to ongoing southern white violence against blacks.
Marcus Garvey Marcus Mosiah Garvey Sr. (17 August 188710 June 1940) was a Jamaican political activist, publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator. He was the founder and first President-General of the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African ...
's
Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League The Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League (UNIA-ACL) is a black nationalist fraternal organization founded by Marcus Garvey, a Jamaicans, Jamaican immigrant to the United States, and Amy Ashwood Garvey. The Pan ...
, the
Nation of Islam The Nation of Islam (NOI) is a religious and political organization founded in the United States by Wallace Fard Muhammad in 1930. A Black nationalism, black nationalist organization, the NOI focuses its attention on the African diaspora, espe ...
, and union organizer A. Philip Randolph's Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters (part of the American Federation of labor) all were established during this period and found support among African Americans, who became urbanized.


Black-owned businesses

Businesses operated at the local level, and included beauty shops, barber shops, funeral parlors and the like. Booker T. Washington organized them nationally into the National Negro Business League. The more ambitious Black businessman with a larger vision avoided small towns and rural areas and headed to progressive large cities. They sent their children to elite Black colleges such as Howard, Spellman, and Morehouse; by the 1970s they were accepted in more than token numbers at national schools such as the
Ivy League The Ivy League is an American collegiate List of NCAA conferences, athletic conference comprising eight Private university, private Research university, research universities in the Northeastern United States. The term ''Ivy League'' is typi ...
. Graduates were hired by major national corporations. They were active in the Urban League, the United Negro College Fund and the NAACP, and were much more likely to be Episcopalians than Baptists.


Women in the beauty business

Although most prominent
African-American businesses Black-owned businesses (or Black businesses), also known as African-American businesses, originated in the days of slavery before 1865. Emancipation and civil rights permitted businessmen to operate inside the American legal structure starting in ...
have been owned by men, women played a major role especially in the area of beauty. Standards of beauty were different for whites and Black people, and the Black community developed its own standards, with an emphasis on hair care. Beauticians could work out of their own homes, and did not need storefronts. As a result, Black beauticians were numerous in the rural South, despite the absence of cities and towns. They pioneered the use of cosmetics, at a time when rural white women in the South avoided them. As Blain Roberts has shown, beauticians offered their clients a space to feel pampered and beautiful in the context of their own community because, "Inside Black beauty shops, rituals of beautification converged with rituals of socialization." Beauty contests emerged in the 1920s, and in the white community they were linked to agricultural county fairs. By contrast in the Black community, beauty contests were developed out of the homecoming ceremonies at their high schools and colleges. The most famous entrepreneur was Madame C. J. Walker (1867–1919); she built a national franchise business called Madame C. J. Walker Manufacturing Company based on her invention of the first successful hair straightening process.


World War I


Soldiers

The U.S. armed forces remained segregated during World War I. Still, many African Americans eagerly volunteered to join the Allied cause following America's entry into the war. More than two million African American men rushed to register for the draft. By the time of the
armistice with Germany The Armistice of 11 November 1918 was the armistice signed at Le Francport near Compiègne that ended fighting on land, sea, and air in World War I between the Allies of World War I, Entente and their last remaining opponent, Weimar ...
in November 1918, over 350,000 African Americans had served with the American Expeditionary Force on the Western Fron
Born Black in the U.S.A.
Most African American units were relegated to support roles and did not see combat. Still, African Americans played a significant role in America's war effort. Four African American regiments were integrated into French units because the French suffered heavy losses and badly needed men after three years of a terrible war. One of the most distinguished units was the 369th Infantry Regiment, known as the "Harlem Hellfighters", which was on the front lines for six months, longer than any other American unit in the war. 171 members of the 369th were awarded the
Legion of Merit The Legion of Merit (LOM) is a Awards and decorations of the United States military, military award of the United States Armed Forces that is given for exceptionally meritorious conduct in the performance of outstanding services and achievemen ...
. From May 1918 to November 1918, the 371st and 372nd African American Regiments were integrated under the 157th Red Hand Division commanded by the French General
Mariano Goybet Mariano Francisco Julio Goybet (17 August 1861 – 29 September 1943) was a French Army History Early history The first permanent army, paid with regular wages, instead of feudal levies, was established under Charles VII of France, Charle ...
. They earned glory in the decisive final offensive in Champagne region of France. The two Regiments were decorated by the French
Croix de Guerre The ''Croix de Guerre'' (, ''Cross of War'') is a military decoration of France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions ...
for their gallantry in the Meuse-Argonne Offensive. Corporal Freddie Stowers of the 371st Infantry Regiment was posthumously awarded a
Medal of Honor The Medal of Honor (MOH) is the United States Armed Forces' highest Awards and decorations of the United States Armed Forces, military decoration and is awarded to recognize American United States Army, soldiers, United States Navy, sailors, Unit ...
—the only African American to be so honored for actions in World War I. During action in
France France (), officially the French Republic ( ), is a country primarily located in Western Europe. It also comprises of Overseas France, overseas regions and territories in the Americas and the Atlantic Ocean, Atlantic, Pacific Ocean, Pac ...
, Stowers had led an assault on German trenches, continuing to lead and encourage his men even after being wounded twice. Stowers died from his wounds, but his men continued the fight on a German machine gun nest near Bussy farm in Champagne, and eventually defeated the German troops. Stowers was recommended for the Medal of Honor shortly after his death, but according to the Army, the nomination was misplaced. Many believed the recommendation had been intentionally ignored due to institutional racism in the Armed Forces. In 1990, under pressure from
Congress A congress is a formal meeting of the Representative democracy, representatives of different countries, constituent states, organizations, trade unions, political party, political parties, or other groups. The term originated in Late Middle Eng ...
, the Defense Department launched an investigation. Based on findings from this investigation, the Army Decorations Board approved the award of the Medal of Honor to Stowers. On April 24, 1991–73 years after he was killed in action—Stowers' two surviving sisters received the Medal of Honor from President George H. W. Bush at the White House.


Home front and postwar

With an enormous demand for expansion of the defense industries, the new draft law in effect, and the cut off of immigration from Europe, demand was very high for underemployed farmers from the South. Hundreds of thousands of African-Americans took the trains to Northern industrial centers in a dramatic historical event known as the Great Migration. Migrants going to Pittsburgh and surrounding mill towns in western Pennsylvania between 1890 and 1930 faced racial discrimination and limited economic opportunities. The Black population in Pittsburgh jumped from 6,000 in 1880 to 27,000 in 1910. Many took highly paid, skilled jobs in the steel mills. Pittsburgh's Black population increased to 37,700 in 1920 (6.4% of the total) while the Black element in Homestead, Rankin, Braddock, and others nearly doubled. They succeeded in building effective community responses that enabled the survival of new communities. Historian Joe Trotter explains the decision process: :Although African-Americans often expressed their views of the Great Migration in biblical terms and received encouragement from northern black newspapers, railroad companies, and industrial labor agents, they also drew upon family and friendship networks to help in the move to Western Pennsylvania. They formed migration clubs, pooled their money, bought tickets at reduced rates, and often moved ingroups. Before they made the decision to move, they gathered information and debated the pros and cons of the process....In barbershops, poolrooms, and grocery stores, in churches, lodge halls, and clubhouses, and in private homes, southern blacks discussed, debated, and decided what was good and what was bad about moving to the urban North. After the war ended and the soldiers returned home, tensions were very high, with serious labor union strikes and inter-racial riots in major cities. The summer of 1919 was known as the
Red Summer Red Summer was a period in mid-1919 during which white supremacist terrorism and racial riots occurred in more than three dozen cities across the United States The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the Uni ...
with outbreaks of racial violence killing about 1,000 people across the nation, most of whom were Black. Nevertheless, the newly established Black communities in the North nearly all endured. Joe Trotter explains how the Blacks built new institutions for their new communities in the Pittsburgh area: :Black churches, fraternal orders, and newspapers (especially the '' Pittsburgh Courier''); organizations such as the NAACP, Urban League, and Garvey Movement; social clubs, restaurants, and baseball teams; hotels, beauty shops, barber shops, and taverns, all proliferated.


New Deal

The Great Depression hit Black America hard. In 1930, it was reported that 4 out of 5 Black people lived in the South, the average life expectancy for Black people was 15 years less than whites, and the Black infant mortality rate at 12% was double that of whites. In Chicago, Black people made up 4% of the population and 16% of the unemployed while in Pittsburgh blacks were 8% of the population and 40% of the unemployed. In January 1934, the journalist Lorena Hickok reported from rural Georgia that she had seen "half-starved Whites and Blacks struggle in competition for less to eat than my dog gets at home, for the privilege of living in huts that are infinitely less comfortable than his kennel".Kennedy, David ''Freedom From Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 193 She also described most Southern Black people who made worked as sharecroppers as living under a system very close to slavery. A visiting British journalist wrote she "had traveled over most of Europe and part of Africa, but I have never seen such terrible sights as I saw yesterday among the sharecroppers of Arkansas". The New Deal did not have a specific program for Black people only, but it sought to incorporate them in all the relief programs that it began. The most important relief agencies were the CCC for young men (who worked in segregated units), the FERA relief programs in 1933–35 (run by local towns and cities), and especially the WPA, which employed 2,000,000 or more workers nationwide under federal control, 1935–42. All races had had the same wage rates and working conditions in the WPA. A rival federal agency was the
Public Works Administration The Public Works Administration (PWA), part of the New Deal of 1933, was a large-scale public works construction agency in the United States headed by United States Secretary of the Interior, Secretary of the Interior Harold L. Ickes. It was ...
(PWA), headed by long-time civil rights activist Harold Ickes. It set quotas for private firms hiring skilled and unskilled Black people in construction projects financed through the PWA, overcoming the objections of labor unions. In this way, the New Deal ensured that blacks were 13% of the unskilled PWA jobs in Chicago, 60% in Philadelphia and 71% in Jacksonville, Florida; their share of the skilled jobs was 4%, 6%, and 17%, respectively. In the Department of Agriculture, there was a lengthy bureaucratic struggle in 1933–35 between one faction which favored rising prices for farmers vs. another faction which favored reforms to assist sharecroppers, especially Black ones. When one Agriculture Department official,
Alger Hiss Alger Hiss (November 11, 1904 – November 15, 1996) was an American government official accused in 1948 of having spied for the Soviet Union in the 1930s. Statutes of limitations had expired for espionage, but he was convicted of perjury in con ...
, in early 1935 wrote up a directive to ensure that Southern landlords were paying sharecroppers for their labor (which most of them did not), Senator Ellison D. Smith stormed into his office and shouted: "Young fella, you can't do this to my niggers, paying checks to them". The Agriculture Secretary, Henry A. Wallace, sided with Smith and agreed to cancel the directive. As it turned out, the most effective way for Black sharecroppers to escape a life of poverty in the South was to move to the North or California. An immediate response was a shift in the Black vote in Northern cities from the GOP to the Democrats (blacks seldom voted in the South.) In Southern states where few Black people voted, Black leaders seized the opportunity to work inside the new federal agencies as social workers and administrators, with an eye to preparing a new generation who would become leaders of grass-roots constituencies that could be mobilized at some future date for civil rights. President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (; ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician and attorney who served as the 32nd president of the United States The president of the United Stat ...
appointed the first federal black judge, William H. Hastie, and created an unofficial "black cabinet" led by
Mary McLeod Bethune Mary Jane McLeod Bethune ( McLeod; July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955) was an American educator, philanthropist, humanitarian, Womanism, womanist, and civil rights activist. Bethune founded the National Council of Negro Women in 1935, established th ...
to advise him.Kennedy, David ''Freedom From Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 378 Roosevelt ordered that federal agencies such as the CCC, WPA and PWA were not to discriminate against Black Americans. The president's wife,
Eleanor Roosevelt Anna Eleanor Roosevelt () (October 11, 1884November 7, 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat, and activist. She was the first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four t ...
(who was a close friend of Bethune's), was notably sympathetic towards African-Americans and constantly in private urged her husband to do more to try help Black Americans. The fact that the Civil Works Administration paid the same wages to Black workers as white workers sparked much resentment in the South and as early as 1933 conservative Southern politicians who claiming that federal relief payments were causing Black people to move to the cities to become a "permanent welfare class". Studies showed that Black people were twice likely to be unemployed as whites, and one-fifth of all people receiving federal relief payments were Black, which was double their share of the population. In Chicago the Black community had been a stronghold of the Republican machine, but in the Great Depression the machine fell apart. Voters and leaders moved en masse into the Democratic Party as the New Deal offered relief programs and the city Democratic machine offered suitable positions in the Democratic Party for leaders such as William Dawson, who went to Congress. Militants demanded a federal anti-lynching bill, but President Roosevelt knew it would never pass Congress but would split his New Deal coalition. Because conservative white Southerners tended to vote as a bloc for the Democratic Party with all of the Senators and Congressmen from the South in the 1930s being Democrats, this tended to pull the national Democratic Party to the right on many issues while Southern politicians formed a powerful bloc in Congress.Kennedy, David ''Freedom From Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 341 When a Black minister, Marshall L. Shepard, delivered the opening prayer at the Democratic National Convention in Philadelphia in 1936, Senator Ellison D. Smith stormed out, screaming: "This mongrel meeting ain't no place for a white man!" Though Smith's reaction was extreme, other Democratic politicians from the South made it clear to Roosevelt that they were very displeased. In the 1936 election, African-Americans who could vote overwhelmingly did so for Roosevelt, marking the first time that a Democratic candidate for president had won the Black vote. In November 1936, the American duo Buck and Bubbles became the first Black people to appear on television, albeit on a British television channel. In April 1937, Congressman Earl C. Michener read out on the floor of the House of Representatives an account of the lynching of Roosevelt Townes and Robert McDaniels in Duck Hill, Mississippi on 13 April 1937, describing in much detail how a white mob tied two Black men to a tree, tortured them with blowtorches, and finally killed them. Michener introduced an anti-lynching bill that passed the House, but which was stopped in the Senate as Southern senators filibustered the bill until it was withdrawn on 21 February 1938. Both civil rights leaders and the First Lady,
Eleanor Roosevelt Anna Eleanor Roosevelt () (October 11, 1884November 7, 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat, and activist. She was the first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four t ...
, pressed President Roosevelt to support the anti-lynching bill, but his support was half-hearted at best.Kennedy, David ''Freedom From Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 343 Roosevelt told Walter Francis White of the NAACP that he personally supported the anti-lynching bill, but that: "I did not choose the tools with which I must work. Had I been permitted to choose them I would have selected quite different ones. But I've got to get legislation passed to save America. The Southerners by reason of the seniority rule in Congress are chairmen or occupy strategic places on most of the Senate and House committees. If I came out for the antilynching bill now, they will block every bill I ask Congress to pass to keep America from collapsing. I just can't take the risk". Through Roosevelt was sympathetic, and his wife even more so towards the plight of African-Americans, but the power of the Southern Democratic bloc in Congress, whom he did not wish to take on, limited his options. Through not explicitly designed to assist Black Americans, Roosevelt supported the Fair Labor Standards Act of 1938, which imposed a national minimum wage of 40 cents per hour and a forty-hour work week while banning child labor, which was intended to assist poorer Americans. The Southern congressional bloc were vehemently opposed to the Fair Labor Standards Act, which they saw as an attack on the entire Southern way of life, which was based upon extremely low wages (for example the minimum wage was 50 cents per day in South Carolina), and caused some of them to break with Roosevelt. In 1938, Roosevelt campaigned in the Democratic primaries to defeat three conservative Southern Democratic senators, Walter F. George,
Millard Tydings Millard Evelyn Tydings (April 6, 1890February 9, 1961) was an American Lawyer, attorney, author, soldier, State legislature (United States), state legislator, and served as a Democratic Party (United States), Democratic United States House of Rep ...
and Ellison "Cotton Ed" Smith, whom were all returned. Later in 1938, the conservative Southern Democrats allied themselves with conservative Republicans, forming an alliance in Congress which sharply limited Roosevelt's ability to pass liberal legislation. After Congress passed the Selective Service Act in September 1940 establishing the draft, A. Philip Randolph, the president of all black Brotherhood of Sleeping Car Porters union had his union issue a resolution calling for the government to desegregate the military.Kennedy, David ''Freedom From Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 764 As the First Lady
Eleanor Roosevelt Anna Eleanor Roosevelt () (October 11, 1884November 7, 1962) was an American political figure, diplomat, and activist. She was the first lady of the United States from 1933 to 1945, during her husband President Franklin D. Roosevelt's four t ...
had attended the meeting of the brotherhood that passed the resolution, it was widely believed that the president was supportive. Randolph subsequently visited the White House on 27 September 1940, where President Roosevelt seemed to be equally sympathetic. Randolph felt very betrayed where he learned the military was to remain segregated after all despite the president's warm words.Kennedy, David ''Freedom From Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 766 Roosevelt had begun a program of rearmament, and feeling the president was not to be trusted, Randolph formed the March on Washington Movement, announcing plans for a huge civil rights march in Washington DC that would demand desegregation of the military and the factories in the defense industry on 1 July 1941. In June 1941 as the deadline for the march approached, Roosevelt asked for it to be cancelled, saying that 100, 000 Black people demonstrating in Washington would create problems for him. On 18 June 1941, Randolph met with Roosevelt with the mayor of New York, Fiorello H. La Guardia serving as a mediator, where in a compromise it was agreed that the march would be cancelled in exchange for Executive Order 8802, which banned discrimination in factories making weapons for the military.Kennedy, David ''Freedom From Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 767 In 1941, the Roosevelt administration, through officially neutral, was leaning in very Allied direction with the United States providing weapons to Great Britain and China (to be joined by the Soviet Union after 22 June 1941), and the president needed the co-operation of Congress as much possible, where isolationist voices were frequently heard. Roosevelt argued to Randolph that he could not antagonize the powerful bloc of conservative Southern Democrats in Congress, and desegregation of the military was out of the question as the Southern Democrats would never accept it; by contrast, as La Guardia pointed out, most of the factories in the defense industry were located in California, the Midwest and the Northeast.


Cotton

The largest group of Black people worked in the cotton farms of the Deep South as sharecroppers or tenant farmers; a few owned their farms. Large numbers of whites also were tenant farmers and
sharecroppers Sharecropping is a legal arrangement with regard to agricultural land in which a landowner allows a tenant to use the land in return for a share of the crops produced on that land. Sharecropping has a long history and there are a wide range ...
.
Tenant farming A tenant farmer is a person (farmer or farmworker) who resides on land owned by a landlord. Tenant farming is an Agrarian system, agricultural production system in which landowners contribute their land and often a measure of operating Capital ...
characterized the cotton and tobacco production in the post-Civil War South. As the agricultural economy plummeted in the early 1930s, all farmers in all parts of the nation were badly hurt. Worst hurt were the tenant farmers (who had relatively more control) and sharecroppers (who had less control), as well as daily laborers (mostly Black, with least control). The problem was very low prices for farm products and the New Deal solution was to raise them by cutting production. It accomplished this in the South by the AAA, which gave landowners acreage reduction contracts, by which they were paid to ''not'' grow cotton or tobacco on a portion of their land. By law, they were required to pay the tenant farmers and sharecroppers on their land a portion of the money, but some cheated on this provision, hurting their tenants and croppers. The farm wage workers who worked directly for the landowner were mostly the ones who lost their jobs. For most tenants and sharecroppers the AAA was a major help. Researchers at the time concluded, "To the extent that the AAA control-program has been responsible for the increased price f cotton we conclude that it has increased the amount of goods and services consumed by the cotton tenants and croppers." Furthermore, the landowners typically let their tenants and croppers use the land taken out of production for their own personal use in growing food and feed crops, which further increased their standard of living. Another consequence was that the historic high levels of turnover from year to year declined sharply, as tenants and coppers tend to stay with the same landowner. Researchers concluded, "As a rule, planters seem to prefer Negroes to whites as tenants and coppers." Once mechanization came to cotton (after 1945), the tenants and sharecroppers were largely surplus; they moved to towns and cities.


World War II


A call for "The Double Victory"

The African-American newspaper ''The Pittsburgh Courier'' called for the "double victory" or " Double V campaign" campaign in a 1942 editorial, saying that all Black people should work for "victory over our enemies at home and victory over our enemies on the battlefield abroad".Kennedy, David ''Freedom from Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 768. The newspaper argued that a victory of the Axis powers, especially Nazi Germany, would be a disaster for African-Americans while at the same time the war presented the opportunity "to persuade, embarrass, compel and shame our government and our nation...into a more enlightened attitude towards a tenth of its people". The slogan of a "double victory" over fascism abroad and racism at home was widely taken up by African-Americans during the war.


Wartime service

Over 1.9 million Black people served in uniform during World War II. They served in segregated units. Black women served in the Army's WAAC and WAC, but very few served in the Navy. The draft starkly exposed the poor living conditions of most African-Americans with the Selective Service Boards turning down 46% of the Black men called up on health grounds as compared to 30% of the white men called up. At least a third of the black men in the South called up by the draft boards turned out to be illiterate. Southern Black people fared badly on the Army General Classification Test (AGCT), an aptitude test designed to determine the most suitable role for those who were drafted, and which was not an IQ test. Of the Black men from the South drafted, 84% fell into the two lowest categories on the AGCT.Kennedy, David ''Freedom from Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 772 Owing to the high failure rate caused by the almost non-existent education system for African-Americans in the South, the Army was forced to offer remedial instruction for Afro-Americans who fell into the lower categories of the AGCT. By 1945, about 150, 000 Black men had learned how to read and write while in the Army. The poor living conditions in rural America which afflicted both white and Black Americans led the Army to undertake remedial health work as well. Army optometrists fitted 2.25 million men suffering from poor eyesight with eyeglasses to allow them to be drafted while Army dentists fitted 2.5 million draftees who would have been otherwise disqualified for the bad state of their teeth with dentures. Most of the Army's 231 training camps were located in the South, which was mostly rural and where land was cheaper. Black people from outside of the South that were sent to the training camps found life in the South almost unbearable.Kennedy, David ''Freedom from Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 771 Tensions at army and navy training bases between Black and white trainees resulted in several outbreaks of racial violence with Black trainees sometimes being lynched. In the so-called Battle of Bamber Bridge on 24–25 June 1943 in the Lancashire town of
Bamber Bridge Bamber Bridge is an urban village In urban planning and urban design, design, an urban village is an urban development typically characterized by medium-density housing, mixed use zoning, good public transit and an emphasis on pedestrianizat ...
saw a shoot-out between white and Black soldiers that left one dead.Kennedy, David ''Freedom from Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 770 In an attempt to solve the problem of racial violence, the War Department in 1943 commissioned the director
Frank Capra Frank Russell Capra (born Francesco Rosario Capra; May 18, 1897 – September 3, 1991) was an Italian-born American film director, producer and writer who became the creative force behind Frank Capra filmography#Films that won Academy Awar ...
to make the propaganda film '' The Negro Soldier''. The segregated 92nd Division, which served in Italy, was noted for the antagonistic relations between its white officers and Black soldiers. In an attempt to ease the racial tensions, the 92nd Division was integrated in 1944 by having the all Japanese-American
442nd Regimental Combat Team The 442nd Infantry Regiment ( ja, 第442歩兵連隊) was an infantry Infantry is a military specialization which engages in ground combat on foot. Infantry generally consists of light infantry, mountain infantry, motorized infantry ...
together with one white regiment assigned to it. The segregated 93rd Division, which served in the Pacific, was assigned "mopping up" duties on the islands that the Americans mostly controlled. Black servicemen greatly resented segregation and those serving in Europe complained that German POWs were served better food than what they were. The Navy was segregated and Black sailors were usually assigned menial work such as stevedores.Kennedy, David ''Freedom from Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 773 At Port Chicago on 17 July 1944, while mostly Black stevedores were loading up two Navy supply ships, an
explosion An explosion is a rapid expansion in volume Volume is a measure of occupied three-dimensional space. It is often quantified numerically using SI derived units (such as the cubic metre and litre) or by various imperial or US customary ...
occurred that killed 320 men, of which 202 were Black. The explosion was widely blamed on the lack of training for Black stevedores, and 50 of the survivors of the explosion refused an order to return to work, demanding safety training first.Kennedy, David ''Freedom from Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 774 At the subsequent court martial for the "Port Chicago 50" on the charges of mutiny, their defense lawyer,
Thurgood Marshall Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American civil rights lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States fro ...
stated: "Negroes in the Navy don't mind loading ammunition. They just want to know why they are the only ones doing the loading! They want to know why they are segregated; why they don't get promoted, and why the Navy disregarded official warnings by the San Francisco waterfront unions...that an explosion was inevitable if they persisted in using untrained seamen in the loading of ammunition". Though the sailors were convicted, the Port Chicago disaster led the Navy in August 1944 to allow Black sailors to serve alongside white sailors on ships, through Black people could only make up 10% of the crew. Through the Army was reluctant to send Black units into combat, famous segregated units, such as the
Tuskegee Airmen The Tuskegee Airmen were a group of primarily African American military pilots (fighter and bomber) and airmen who fought in World War II. They formed the 332d Fighter Group and the 477th Fighter Group, 477th Bombardment Group (Medium) of the ...
and the U.S. 761st Tank Battalion proved their value in combat. Approximately 75 percent of the soldiers who served in the European theater as truckers for the Red Ball Express and kept Allied supply lines open were African-American. During the crisis of the Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, the Army allowed several integrated infantry platoons to be formed, through these were broken up once the crisis passed. However, the experiment of the integrated platoons in December 1944 showed that integration did not mean the collapse of military discipline as many claimed that it would, and was a factor in the later desegregation of the armed forces. A total of 708 African Americans were killed in combat during World War II. The distinguished service of these units was a factor in President Harry S. Truman's order to end discrimination in the Armed Forces in July 1948, with the promulgation of
Executive Order 9981 Executive Order 9981 was issued on July 26, 1948, by President President most commonly refers to: *President (corporate title) *President (education), a leader of a college or university *President (government title) President may also refer ...
. This led in turn to the integration of the Air Force and the other services by the early 1950s. In his book ''A Rising Wind'', Walter Francis White of the NAACP wrote: "World War II has immeasurably magnified the Negro's awareness of the American profession and practice of democracy... lack veteranswill return home convinced that whatever betterment of their lot is achieved must come largely from their own efforts. They will return determined to use those efforts to the utmost".


Home front

Due to massive shortages as a result of the American entry into World War II, defense employers from Northern and Western cities went to the South to convince blacks and whites there to leave the region in promise of higher wages and better opportunities. As a result, African-Americans left the South in large numbers to munitions centers in the North and West to take advantage of the shortages caused by the war, sparking the Second Great Migration. While they somewhat lived in better conditions than the South (for instance, they could vote and send children to better schools), they nevertheless faced widespread discrimination due to bigotry and fear of competition of housing and jobs among white residents. When Roosevelt learned that many companies in the defense industry were violating the spirit, if not the letter of Executive Order 8802 by only employing Black people in menial positions such as janitors and denying them the opportunity to work as highly paid skilled laborers, he significantly strengthened the Fair Employment Practice Committee (FEPC) with orders to fine the corporations that did not treat their Black employees equally.Kennedy, David ''Freedom from Fear'', Oxford: Oxford University Press, 2005 p. 775 In 1943, Roosevelt gave the FEPC a budget of half-million dollars and replaced the unpaid volunteers who had previously staffed the FEPC with a paid staff concentrated in regional headquarters across the nation with instructions to inspect the defense industry's factories to ensure the spirit and letter of Executive Order 8802 was being obeyed. Roosevelt believed that having Black men and women employed in the defense industry working as skilled laborers would give them far higher wages than what they ever had before, and ultimately form the nucleus of a Black middle class. When the president learned that some unions were pushing for black employees to be given menial "auxiliary" jobs in the factories, he instructed the
National Labor Relations Board The National Labor Relations Board (NLRB) is an Independent agencies of the United States government, independent agency of the federal government of the United States with responsibilities for enforcing United States labor law, U.S. labor law in ...
to decertify those unions. In 1944, when the union for trolley drivers in Philadelphia went on strike to protest plans to hire African-Americans as trolley drivers, Roosevelt sent in troops to break the strike. In 1942, Black people made up 3% of the workforce in the defense industry; by 1945 Black people made up 8% of the workforce in defense industry factories (Black people made up 10% of the population). Racial tensions were also high between whites and ethnic minorities that cities like
Chicago (''City in a Garden''); I Will , image_map = , map_caption = Interactive Map of Chicago , coordinates = , coordinates_footnotes = , subdivision_type = List of sovereign states, Count ...
,
Detroit Detroit ( , ; , ) is the List of municipalities in Michigan, largest city in the U.S. state of Michigan. It is also the largest U.S. city on the Canada–United States border, United States–Canada border, and the County seat, seat of gov ...
,
Los Angeles Los Angeles ( ; es, Los Ángeles, link=no , ), often referred to by its initials L.A., is the largest city in the state of California California is a U.S. state, state in the Western United States, located along the West Coast of ...
, and
Harlem Harlem is a neighborhood in Upper Manhattan, New York City. It is bounded roughly by the Hudson River on the west; the Harlem River and 155th Street (Manhattan), 155th Street on the north; Fifth Avenue on the east; and 110th Street (Manhattan), ...
experienced
race riots An ethnic conflict is a conflict between two or more contending ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish ...
in 1943. In May 1943, in Mobile, Alabama, when the local shipyard promoted some Black men up to be trained as welders, white workers rioted and seriously injured 11 of their Black co-workers. In Los Angeles, the Zoot Suit riots of 3–8 June 1943 saw white servicemen attacking ''Chicano'' (Mexican-American) and Black youths for wearing zoot suits. On 15 June 1943, in Beaumont, Texas, a
pogrom A pogrom () is a violent riot incited with the aim of Massacre, massacring or expelling an ethnic or religious group, particularly Jews. The term entered the English language from Russian to describe 19th- and 20th-century Anti-Jewish pogroms in ...
saw a white mob smash up Black homes while lynching 2 Black men. In Detroit, which expanded massively during the war years with 50, 000 Black people from the South and 200, 000 "hillbilly" whites from
Appalachia Appalachia () is a cultural region in the Eastern United States that stretches from the Southern Tier of New York State to northern Alabama (We dare defend our rights) , anthem = " Alabama" , image_map = Alabama in United States.svg ...
moving to the city to work in the factories, competition for sparse rental housing had pushed tensions to the brink. On 20 June 1943, false rumors that a white mob had lynched 3 Black men led to an outbreak of racial rioting in Detroit that left 34 dead, of whom 25 were Black. On 1–2 August 1943, another
race riot This is a list of ethnic riots by country, and includes riots based on Ethnic conflict, ethnic, Sectarian violence, sectarian, xenophobic, and Racial conflict, racial conflict. Some of these riots can also be classified as pogroms. Africa A ...
in Harlem left 6 Black people dead. Politically, Black people left the Republican Party and joined the Democratic New Deal Coalition of President
Franklin D. Roosevelt Franklin Delano Roosevelt (; ; January 30, 1882April 12, 1945), often referred to by his initials FDR, was an American politician and attorney who served as the 32nd president of the United States The president of the United Stat ...
, whom they widely admired. The political leaders, ministers and newspaper editors who shaped opinion resolved on a Double V campaign: Victory over German and Japanese fascism abroad, and victory over discrimination at home. Black newspapers created the Double V campaign to build Black morale and head off radical action. During the war years, the NAACP expanded tenfold, having over half a million members by 1945. The new civil rights group Committee of Racial Equality (CORE), founded in 1942, started demonstrations demanding desegregation of buses, theaters and restaurants. At one CORE demonstration outside a segregated restaurant in Washington, DC in 1944 had signs reading "We Die Together', Let's Eat Together" and "Are you for Hitler's Way or the American Way?". In 1944, the Swedish economist
Gunnar Myrdal Karl Gunnar Myrdal ( ; ; 6 December 1898 – 17 May 1987) was a Swedish economist and sociologist. In 1974, he received the Nobel Memorial Prize in Economic Sciences along with Friedrich Hayek for "their pioneering work in the theory of money an ...
published his bestselling book ''An American Dilemma: The Negro Problem and Modern Democracy'' where he described in much detail the effects of white supremacy upon Black Americans, and predicated in the long run the Jim Crow regime was unsustainable, as he argued that after the war African-Americans would be not willing to accept a permanent second class status. Most Black women had been farm laborers or domestics before the war. Despite discrimination and segregated facilities throughout the South, they escaped the cotton patch and took blue-collar jobs in the cities. Working with the federal Fair Employment Practices Committee, the NAACP and CIO unions, these Black women fought a Double V campaign against the Axis abroad and against restrictive hiring practices at home. Their efforts redefined citizenship, equating their patriotism with war work, and seeking equal employment opportunities, government entitlements, and better working conditions as conditions appropriate for full citizens. In the South, Black women worked in segregated jobs; in the West and most of the North they were integrated, but wildcat strikes erupted in Detroit, Baltimore, and Evansville where white migrants from the South refused to work alongside Black women. The most largest of the "hate strikes" was the strike by white women at the Western Electric factory in Baltimore, who objected to sharing a bathroom with Black women.


Hollywood

"Stormy Weather" (1943) (starring
Lena Horne Lena Mary Calhoun Horne (June 30, 1917 – May 9, 2010) was an American dancer, actress, singer, and civil rights activist. Horne's career spanned more than seventy years, appearing in film, television, and theatre. Horne joined the chorus of th ...
,
Bill "Bojangles" Robinson Bill Robinson, nicknamed Bojangles (born Luther Robinson; May 25, 1878 – November 25, 1949), was an American tap dancer, actor, and singer, the best known and the most highly paid African-American African Americans (also referred to as ...
and Cab Calloway's Band), along with '' Cabin in the Sky'' (1943) (starring
Ethel Waters Ethel Waters (October 31, 1896 – September 1, 1977) was an American singer and actress. Waters frequently performed jazz, swing, and pop music on the Broadway stage and in concerts. She began her career in the 1920s singing blues. Her no ...
,
Eddie "Rochester" Anderson Edmund Lincoln Anderson (September 18, 1905 – February 28, 1977) was an American comedian and actor. To a generation of early radio and television comedy he was known as "Rochester". Anderson entered show business as a teenager on the vaudevi ...
, Lena Horne and Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong), and other musicals of the 1940s opened new roles for Black people in Hollywood. They broke through old stereotypes and far surpassed the limited, poorly paid roles available in
race film The race film or race movie was a genre of film produced in the United States between about 1915 and the early 1950s, consisting of films produced for black Black is a color which results from the absence or complete Absorption (electromag ...
s produced for all-Black audiences.


Second Great Migration

The Second Great Migration was the
migration Migration, migratory, or migrate may refer to: Human migration * Human migration, physical movement by humans from one region to another ** International migration, when peoples cross state boundaries and stay in the host state for some minimum le ...
of more than 5 million African Americans from the South to the other three regions of the United States. It took place from 1941, through
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
, and lasted until 1970. It was much larger and of a different character than the first Great Migration (1910–1940). Some historians prefer to distinguish between the movements for those reasons. In the Second Great Migration, more than five million African Americans moved to cities in states in the Northeast, Midwest, and West, including the West Coast, where many skilled jobs in the defense industry were concentrated. More of these migrants were already urban laborers who came from the cities of the South. They were better educated and had better skills than people who did not migrate. Compared to the more rural migrants of the period 1910–40, many African Americans in the South were already living in urban areas and had urban job skills before they relocated. They moved to take jobs in the burgeoning industrial cities and especially the many jobs in the defense industry during World War II. Workers who were limited to segregated, low-skilled jobs in Southern cities were able to get highly skilled, well-paid jobs at West Coast shipyards. The effect of racially homogeneous communities composed largely of Black immigrants that formed because of spatial segregation in destination cities was that they were largely influenced by the Southern culture they brought with them. The food, music and even the discriminatory white police presence in these neighborhoods were all imported to a certain extent from the collective experiences of the highly concentrated African American migrants. Writers have often assumed that Southern migrants contributed disproportionately to changes in the African-American family in the inner city. However, census data for 1940 through 1990 show that these families actually exhibited more traditional family patterns—more children living with two parents, more ever-married women living with their spouses, and fewer never-married mothers. By the end of the Second Great Migration, African Americans had become an urbanized population. More than 80 percent lived in cities. Fifty-three percent remained in the Southern United States, while 40 percent lived in the Northeast and North Central states and 7 percent in the West.


Civil rights era

The
Supreme Court A supreme court is the highest court A court is any person or institution, often as a government institution, with the authority to Adjudication, adjudicate legal disputes between Party (law), parties and carry out the administration of ju ...
handed down a landmark decision in the case of '' Brown v. Board of Education'' (1954) of
Topeka Topeka ( ; Kansa language, Kansa: ; iow, Dópikˀe, script=Latn or ) is the Capital (political), capital city of the U.S. state of Kansas and the County seat, seat of Shawnee County, Kansas, Shawnee County. It is along the Kansas River in the ...
. This decision applied to public facilities, especially public schools. Reforms occurred slowly and only after concerted activism by African Americans. The ruling also brought new momentum to the
Civil Rights Movement The civil rights movement was a nonviolent social and political movement and campaign from 1954 to 1968 in the United States to abolish legalized institutional Racial segregation in the United States, racial segregation, Racial discrimination ...
.
Boycott A boycott is an act of nonviolent resistance, nonviolent, voluntary abstention from a product, person, organization, or country as an expression of protest. It is usually for moral, society, social, politics, political, or Environmentalism, envir ...
s against segregated public transportation systems sprang up in the South, the most notable of which was the
Montgomery bus boycott The Montgomery bus boycott was a political and social boycott, protest campaign against the policy of racial segregation on the public transit system of Montgomery, Alabama, Montgomery, Alabama. It was a foundational event in the civil rights ...
. Civil rights groups such as the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. SCLC is closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King Jr., who had a large role in the American civi ...
(SCLC) organized across the South with tactics such as boycotts, voter registration campaigns,
Freedom Rides Freedom Riders were civil rights activists who rode interstate buses into the Racial segregation in the United States, segregated Southern United States, Southern United States in 1961 and subsequent years to challenge the non-enforcement of ...
and other nonviolent direct action, such as marches, pickets and sit-ins to mobilize around issues of equal access and voting rights. Southern segregationists fought back to block reform. The conflict grew to involve steadily escalating physical violence, bombings and intimidation by Southern whites. Law enforcement responded to protesters with batons, electric cattle prods, fire hoses, attack dogs and mass arrests. In
Virginia Virginia, officially the Commonwealth of Virginia, is a U.S. state, state in the Mid-Atlantic (United States), Mid-Atlantic and Southeastern United States, Southeastern regions of the United States, between the East Coast of the United Stat ...
, state legislators, school board members and other public officials mounted a campaign of obstructionism and outright defiance to integration called
Massive Resistance Massive resistance was a strategy declared by United States Senate, U.S. Senator Harry F. Byrd Sr. of Virginia and his brother-in-law James M. Thomson (Virginia politician), James M. Thomson, who represented Alexandria, Virginia, Alexandria in the ...
. It entailed a series of actions to deny state funding to integrated schools and instead fund privately run "segregation academies" for white students.
Farmville, Virginia Farmville is a town in Prince Edward and Cumberland Cumberland ( ) is a historic counties of England, historic county in the far North West England. It covers part of the Lake District as well as the north Pennines and Solway Firth coast. Cu ...
, in Prince Edward County, was one of the plaintiff African-American communities involved in the 1954 ''Brown v. Board of Education'' Supreme Court decision. As a last-ditch effort to avoid court-ordered desegregation, officials in the county shut down the county's entire public school system in 1959 and it remained closed for five years. White students were able to attend private schools established by the community for the sole purpose of circumventing integration. The largely Black rural population of the county had little recourse. Some families were split up as parents sent their children to live with relatives in other locales to attend public school; but the majority of Prince Edward's more than 2,000 black children, as well as many poor whites, simply remained unschooled until federal court action forced the schools to reopen five years later. Perhaps the high point of the Civil Rights Movement was the 1963
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 August 28, 1963. The purpose of the march was to advocate for the civil and economic righ ...
, which brought more than 250,000 marchers to the grounds of the
Lincoln Memorial The Lincoln Memorial is a List of national memorials of the United States, U.S. national memorial built to honor the List of presidents of the United States, 16th president of the United States, Abraham Lincoln. It is on the western end of ...
and the
National Mall The National Mall is a Landscape architecture, landscaped park near the Downtown, Washington, D.C., downtown area of Washington, D.C., the capital city of the United States. It contains and borders a number of museums of the Smithsonian Institut ...
in
Washington, D.C. ) , image_skyline = , image_caption = Clockwise from top left: the Washington Monument The Washington Monument is an obelisk shaped building within the National Mall in Washington, D.C., built to commemorate Geor ...
, to speak out for an end to southern racial violence and police brutality, equal opportunity in employment, equal access in education and public accommodations. The organizers of the march were called the " Big Six" of the Civil Rights Movement:
Bayard Rustin Bayard Rustin (; March 17, 1912 – August 24, 1987) was an African American leader in social movements for civil rights, socialism, nonviolence, and gay rights. Rustin worked with A. Philip Randolph on the March on Washington Movement, in 19 ...
the strategist who has been called the "invisible man" of the Civil Rights Movement; labor organizer and initiator of the march, A. Philip Randolph;
Roy Wilkins Roy Ottoway Wilkins (August 30, 1901 – September 8, 1981) was a prominent activist in the Civil Rights Movement in the United States from the 1930s to the 1970s. Wilkins' most notable role was his leadership of the National Association for the ...
of the NAACP; Whitney Young, Jr., of the
National 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' freedom from infringeme ...
; Martin Luther King Jr., of the
Southern Christian Leadership Conference The Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC) is an African-American civil rights organization based in Atlanta, Georgia. SCLC is closely associated with its first president, Martin Luther King Jr., who had a large role in the American civi ...
(SCLC);
James Farmer James Leonard Farmer Jr. (January 12, 1920 – July 9, 1999) was an American civil rights activist and leader in the Civil Rights Movement "who pushed for nonviolent protest to dismantle segregation, and served alongside Martin Luther King Jr." H ...
of the Congress on Racial Equality (CORE); and
John Lewis John Robert Lewis (February 21, 1940 – July 17, 2020) was an American politician and civil rights activist who served in the United States House of Representatives for from 1987 until his death in 2020. He participated in the 1960 Nashville ...
of the
Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee The Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC, often pronounced ) was the principal channel of student commitment in the United States to the civil rights movement during the 1960s. Emerging in 1960 from the student-led Sit-in movement, s ...
(SNCC). Also active behind the scenes and sharing the podium with Dr. King was Dorothy Height, head of the
National Council of Negro Women The National Council of Negro Women (NCNW) is a nonprofit organization founded in 1935 with the mission to advance the opportunities and the quality of life for African Americans, African-American women, their families, and communities. Mary Mc ...
. It was at this event, on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial, that King delivered his historic "
I Have a Dream "I Have a Dream" is a Public speaking, public speech that was delivered by American civil rights activist and Baptist minister, Martin Luther King Jr., during the March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom on August 28, 1963. In the spee ...
" speech. This march, the 1963 Birmingham Children's Crusade, and other events were credited with putting pressure on President
John F. Kennedy John Fitzgerald Kennedy (May 29, 1917 – November 22, 1963), often referred to by his initials JFK and the nickname Jack, was an American politician who served as the 35th president of the United States from 1961 until assassination of Joh ...
, and then Lyndon B. Johnson, that culminated in the passage 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, and nationa ...
that banned discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and labor unions. The "Mississippi Freedom Summer" of 1964 brought thousands of idealistic youth, black and white, to the state to run "freedom schools", to teach basic literacy, history and civics. Other volunteers were involved in voter registration drives. The season was marked by harassment, intimidation and violence directed at civil rights workers and their host families. The disappearance of three youths, James Chaney, Andrew Goodman and Michael Schwerner in
Philadelphia, Mississippi Philadelphia is a city in and the county seat A county seat is an administrative center, seat of government, or capital city of a county or parish (administrative division), civil parish. The term is in use in Canada, China, Hungary, Romania, T ...
, captured the attention of the nation. Six weeks later, searchers found the savagely beaten body of Chaney, a Black man, in a muddy dam alongside the remains of his two white companions, who had been shot to death. There was national outrage at the escalating injustices of the "Mississippi Blood Summer", as it by then had come to be known, and at the brutality of the murders. In 1965 the Selma Voting Rights Movement, its
Selma to Montgomery marches The Selma to Montgomery marches were three Demonstration (protest), protest marches, held in 1965, along the 54-mile (87 km) highway from Selma, Alabama, to the state capital of Montgomery, Alabama, Montgomery. The marches were organized ...
, and the tragic murders of two activists associated with the march, inspired President Lyndon B. Johnson to call for the full
Voting Rights Act of 1965 The suffrage, Voting Rights Act of 1965 is a landmark piece of Federal government of the United States, federal legislation in the United States that prohibits racial discrimination in voting. It was signed into law by President of the United ...
, which struck down barriers to black enfranchisement. In 1966 the Chicago Open Housing Movement, followed by the passage of the 1968 Fair Housing Act, was a capstone to more than a decade of major legislation during the civil rights movement. By this time, African Americans who questioned the effectiveness of nonviolent protest had gained a greater voice. More militant Black leaders, such as
Malcolm X Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little, later Malik el-Shabazz; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965) was an American Islam in the United States, Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a prominent figure during the civil rights movement. A sp ...
of the
Nation of Islam The Nation of Islam (NOI) is a religious and political organization founded in the United States by Wallace Fard Muhammad in 1930. A Black nationalism, black nationalist organization, the NOI focuses its attention on the African diaspora, espe ...
and
Eldridge Cleaver Leroy Eldridge Cleaver (August 31, 1935 – May 1, 1998) was an American writer and political activist who became an early leader of the Black Panther Party. In 1968, Cleaver wrote ''Soul on Ice (book), Soul on Ice'', a collection of essays tha ...
of the
Black Panther Party The Black Panther Party (BPP), originally the Black Panther Party for Self-Defense, was a Marxism-Leninism, Marxist-Leninist and Black Power movement, black power political organization founded by college students Bobby Seale and Huey P. New ...
, called for Black people to defend themselves, using violence, if necessary. From the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s, the Black Power movement urged African Americans to look to Africa for inspiration and emphasized Black solidarity, rather than integration.


Post-civil rights era

Politically and economically, Black people have made substantial strides in the post-civil rights era. Civil rights leader
Jesse Jackson Jesse Louis Jackson (Given name, né Burns; born October 8, 1941) is an American political activist, Baptist Minister of religion, minister, and Politics of the United States, politician. He was a candidate for the Democratic Party (United S ...
, who ran for the Democratic Party's presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988, brought unprecedented support and leverage to Black people in politics. In 1989, Douglas Wilder became the first African-American elected governor in U.S. history. In 1992 Carol Moseley-Braun of
Illinois Illinois ( ) is a state in the Midwestern United States, Midwestern United States. Its largest metropolitan areas include the Chicago metropolitan area, and the Metro East section, of Greater St. Louis. Other smaller metropolitan areas inc ...
became the first Black woman elected to the 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. The 39 African-American members of Congress form the
Congressional Black Caucus The Congressional Black Caucus (CBC) is a Caucuses of the United States Congress, caucus made up of most African Americans, African-American members of the United States Congress. Representative Karen Bass from California chaired the caucus from ...
, which serves as a political bloc for issues relating to African Americans. The appointment of Black people to high federal offices—including General
Colin Powell Colin Luther Powell ( ; April 5, 1937 – October 18, 2021) was an American politician, statesman, diplomat, and United States Army officer who served as the 65th United States Secretary of State from 2001 to 2005. He was the List of Africa ...
, Chairman of the U.S. Armed Forces Joint Chiefs of Staff, 1989–93,
United States Secretary of State The United States secretary of state is a member of the executive branch of the federal government of the United States and the head of the United States Department of State, U.S. Department of State. The office holder is one of the highest ra ...
, 2001–05;
Condoleezza Rice Condoleezza Rice ( ; born November 14, 1954) is an American diplomat and political scientist Political science is the science, scientific study of politics. It is a social science dealing with systems of governance and power, and the ...
, Assistant to the President for National Security Affairs, 2001–04, Secretary of State in, 2005–09; Ron Brown,
United States Secretary of Commerce The United States secretary of commerce (SecCom) is the head of the United States Department of Commerce. The secretary serves as the principal advisor to the president of the United States on all matters relating to commerce. The secretary rep ...
, 1993–96; and Supreme Court justices
Thurgood Marshall Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American civil rights lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States fro ...
and
Clarence Thomas Clarence Thomas (born June 23, 1948) is an American jurist who serves as an associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. He Clarence Thomas Supreme Court nomination, was nominated by President George H. W. Bush to succeed Th ...
—also demonstrates the increasing visibility of Black people in the political arena. Economic progress for Black people reaching the extremes of wealth has been slow. According to Forbes richest lists,
Oprah Winfrey Oprah Gail Winfrey (; born Orpah Gail Winfrey; January 29, 1954), or simply Oprah, is an American talk show host, television producer, actress, author, and philanthropist. She is best known for her talk show, ''The Oprah Winfrey Show'', br ...
was the richest African American of the 20th century and has been the world's only Black billionaire in 2004, 2005, and 2006. Not only was Winfrey the world's only Black billionaire but she has been the only Black person on the
Forbes 400 The ''Forbes'' 400 or 400 Richest Americans is a list published by ''Forbes'' magazine of the wealthiest 400 Citizenship of the United States, American citizens who own assets in the U.S., ranked by net worth. The 400 was started by Malcolm F ...
list nearly every year since 1995.
BET Black Entertainment Television (acronym BET) is an American basic cable channel targeting African-American audiences. It is owned by the CBS Entertainment Group unit of Paramount Global via BET Networks and has offices in New York City ...
founder Bob Johnson briefly joined her on the list from 2001 to 2003 before his ex-wife acquired part of his fortune; although he returned to the list in 2006, he did not make it in 2007. With Winfrey the only African American wealthy enough to rank among America's 400 richest people, African Americans currently comprise 0.25% of America's economic elite and comprise 13.6% of the U.S. population. The dramatic political breakthrough came in the 2008 election, with the election of
Barack Obama Barack Hussein Obama II ( ; born August 4, 1961) is an American politician who served as the 44th president of the United States from 2009 to 2017. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, Obama was the first Af ...
, the son of a Black Kenyan father and a white American mother. He won overwhelming support from African-American voters in the Democratic primaries, even as his main opponent Hillary Clinton had the support of many Black politicians. African Americans continued to support Obama throughout his term. After completing his first term, Obama ran for a second term. In 2012, he won the
presidential election A presidential election is the election of any head of state whose official title is President (government title), President. Elections by country Albania The president List of heads of state of Albania, of Albania is elected by the Assembly of ...
against candidate
Mitt Romney Willard Mitt Romney (born March 12, 1947) is an American politician, businessman, and lawyer serving as the Seniority in the United States Senate, junior United States Senate, United States senator from Utah since January 2019, succeeding O ...
and was re-elected as the president of the United States. The post-civil rights era is also notable for the
New Great Migration The New Great Migration is the demographic change from 1970 to the present, which is a reversal of the previous 60-year trend of African Americans, black human migration, migration within the United States. Since 1970, deindustrialization of ...
, in which millions of African Americans have returned to the South including
Texas Texas (, ; Spanish language, Spanish: ''Texas'', ''Tejas'') is a state in the South Central United States, South Central region of the United States. At 268,596 square miles (695,662 km2), and with more than 29.1 million residents in 2 ...
, Georgia,
Florida Florida is a U.S. state, state located in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. Florida is bordered to the west by the Gulf of Mexico, to the northwest by Alabama, to the north by Georgia (U.S. state), Geo ...
and
North Carolina North Carolina () is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States. The state is the List of U.S. states and territories by area, 28th largest and List of states and territories of the United ...
, often to pursue increased economic opportunities in now-desegregated southern cities. On August 11, 2020, Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) was announced as the first African-American woman to run for vice-president on a major party presidential ticket. She was elected vice president in the
2020 United States presidential election The 2020 United States presidential election was the 59th quadrennial United States presidential election, presidential election, held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. The Democratic Party (United States), Democratic ticket of former Vice Pres ...
.


Social issues

After the
Civil Rights Movement The civil rights movement was a nonviolent social and political movement and campaign from 1954 to 1968 in the United States to abolish legalized institutional Racial segregation in the United States, racial segregation, Racial discrimination ...
gains of the 1950s–1970s, due to government neglect, unfavorable social policies, high poverty rates, changes implemented in the
criminal justice Criminal justice is the delivery of justice to those who have been accused of committing crimes. The criminal justice system is a series of government agencies and institutions. Goals include the Rehabilitation (penology), rehabilitation of o ...
system and laws, and a breakdown in traditional family units, African-American communities have been suffering from extremely high incarceration rates. African Americans have the highest imprisonment rate of any major
ethnic group An ethnic group or an ethnicity is a grouping of people who identity (social science), identify with each other on the basis of shared attributes that distinguish them from other groups. Those attributes can include common sets of traditions, an ...
in the world. The Southern states, which historically had been involved in
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
and post-Reconstruction oppression, now produce the highest rates of incarceration and
death penalty Capital punishment, also known as the death penalty, is the State (polity), state-sanctioned practice of deliberately killing a person as a punishment for an actual or supposed crime, usually following an authorized, rule-governed process to ...
application.


Historiography

The
history of slavery The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and Slavery and religion, religions from Ancient history, ancient times to the present day. Likewise, its victims have come from many different ethnicities and religious groups. The socia ...
has always been a major research topic for white scholars, but until the 1950s, they generally focused on the political and constitutional themes as they were debated by white politicians; they did not study the lives of the enslaved
black people Black is a Racialization, racialized classification of people, usually a Politics, political and Human skin color, skin color-based category for specific populations with a mid to dark brown complexion. Not all people considered "black" have ...
. During
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 ...
and the late 19th century, Black people became major actors in the South. The Dunning School of white scholars generally cast Black people as pawns of white Carpetbaggers during this period, but W. E. B. Du Bois, a Black historian, and Ulrich B. Phillips, a white historian, studied the African-American experience in depth. Du Bois' study of Reconstruction provided a more objective context for evaluating its achievements and weaknesses; in addition, he did studies of contemporary Black life. Phillips set the main topics of inquiry that still guide the analysis of slave economics. During the first half of the 20th century, Carter G. Woodson was the major Black scholar who studied and promoted the Black historical experience. Woodson insisted that the scholarly study of the African-American experience should be sound, creative, restorative, and, most important, it should be directly relevant to the Black community. He popularized Black history with a variety of innovative strategies, including the Association for the Study of Negro Life outreach activities, Negro History Week (now
Black History Month Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the 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 Continental United States, primarily ...
, in February), and a popular Black history magazine. Woodson democratized, legitimized, and popularized Black history. Benjamin Quarles (1904–1996) had a significant impact on the teaching of African-American history. Quarles and
John Hope Franklin John Hope Franklin (January 2, 1915 – March 25, 2009) was an American historian of the United States and former president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Histor ...
provided a bridge between the work of historians in historically Black colleges, such as Woodson, and the Black history that is now well established in mainline universities. Quarles grew up in Boston, attended
Shaw University Shaw University is a private Baptist historically black university in Raleigh, North Carolina. It is affiliated with the American Baptist Churches USA. Founded on December 1, 1865, Shaw University is the oldest HBCU to begin offering cours ...
as an undergraduate, and received a graduate degree at the
University of Wisconsin A university () is an educational institution, institution of higher education, higher (or Tertiary education, tertiary) education and research which awards academic degrees in several Discipline (academia), academic disciplines. Universities ty ...
. In 1953, he began teaching at
Morgan State College Morgan State University (Morgan State or MSU) is a public In public relations and communication science, publics are groups of individual people, and the public (a.k.a. the general public) is the totality of such groupings. This is a differe ...
in Baltimore, where he stayed, despite the fact that he received a lucrative offer from
Johns Hopkins University Johns Hopkins University (Johns Hopkins, Hopkins, or JHU) is a private university, private research university in Baltimore, Maryland. Founded in 1876, Johns Hopkins is the oldest research university in the United States and in the western hem ...
. Quarles' books included ''The Negro in the Civil War'' (1953), ''The Negro in the American Revolution'' (1961), ''Lincoln and the Negro'' (1962), ''The Negro in the Making of America'' (1964, updated 1987), and ''Black Abolitionists'' (1969), which are all narrative accounts of critical wartime episodes that focused on how Black people interacted with their white allies. Black historians attempted to reverse centuries of ignorance. While they were not alone in advocating a new examination of
slavery Slavery and enslavement are both the state and the condition of being a slave—someone forbidden to quit one's service for an enslaver, and who is treated by the enslaver as property. Slavery typically involves slaves being made to perf ...
and
racism in the United States Racism in the United States comprises negative attitudes and views on Race and ethnicity in the United States, race or ethnicity which are related to each other, are held by various people and groups in the United States, and have been reflect ...
, the study of African-American history has often been a political and scholarly struggle waged by historians who wish to refute incorrect assumptions. One of the foremost assumptions was the belief that enslaved people were passive and did not rebel. A series of historians transformed the image of African Americans, revealing a much richer and more complex experience. Historians such as Leon F. Litwack showed how former enslaved people fought to keep their families together and struggled against tremendous odds to define themselves as free people. Other historians wrote about rebellions, both small and large. In the 21st century, Black history is regarded as mainstream. Since the proclamation by President
Jimmy Carter James Earl Carter Jr. (born October 1, 1924) is an American politician who served as the 39th president of the United States from 1977 to 1981. A member of the Democratic Party (United States), Democratic Party, he previously served as th ...
, it is celebrated every February in the United States during "Black History Month." Proponents of Black history believe that it promotes diversity, develops self-esteem, and corrects myths and stereotypes. Opponents of it argue that such curricula are dishonest, divisive, and lack academic credibility and rigor. In 2021,
College Board The College Board is an American not-for-profit organization, nonprofit organization that was formed in December 1899 as the College Entrance Examination Board (CEEB) to expand access to higher education. While the College Board is not an assoc ...
announced it would be piloting an AP African American Studies course between 2022 and 2024. The course is expected to launch in 2024.


Knowledge of Black history

Surveys of 11th- and 12th-grade students and adults in 2005 show that American schools have given students an awareness of some famous figures in Black history. Both groups were asked to name 10 famous Americans, excluding presidents. Of those named, the three most mentioned were Black: 67% named Martin Luther King Jr., 60% Rosa Parks, and 44% Harriet Tubman. Among adults, King was second (at 36%) and Parks was tied for fourth with 30%, while Tubman tied for 10th place with Henry Ford, at 16%. When distinguished historians were asked in 2006 to name the most prominent Americans, Parks and Tubman did not make the top 100.Sam Wineburg and Chauncey Monte-Sano, "'Famous Americans': The Changing Pantheon of American Heroes," ''Journal of American History'' (March 2008), 94, #4, pp. 1186–1202.


Scholars of African-American history

*
Herbert Aptheker Herbert Aptheker (July 31, 1915 – March 17, 2003) was an American Marxist historiography, Marxist historian and political activist. He wrote more than 50 books, mostly in the fields of African-American history and general history of the United ...
* Lerone Bennett, Jr. *
Ira Berlin Ira Berlin (May 27, 1941 – June 5, 2018) was an American historian, professor of history at the University of Maryland, College Park, University of Maryland, and former president of Organization of American Historians. Berlin is the author of ...
* John Wesley Blassingame *
John Henrik Clarke John Henrik Clarke (born John Henry Clark; January 1, 1915 - July 16, 1998) was an African-American historian, professor, and pioneer in the creation of Pan-African and Africana studies and professional institutions in academia starting in the l ...
* W. E. B. Du Bois * Lonnie Bunch *
Eric Foner Eric Foner (; born February 7, 1943) is an American historian. He writes extensively on History of the United States, American political history, the history of freedom, the early History of the United States Republican Party, history of the Rep ...
*
Elizabeth Fox-Genovese Elizabeth Ann Fox-Genovese (May 28, 1941 – January 2, 2007) was an American historian best known for her works on women and society in the Antebellum South. A Marxist early on in her career, she later converted to Roman Catholicism and became ...
*
John Hope Franklin John Hope Franklin (January 2, 1915 – March 25, 2009) was an American historian of the United States and former president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Histor ...
* Henry Louis Gates, Jr. *
Eugene Genovese Eugene Dominic Genovese (May 19, 1930 – September 26, 2012) was an American historian of the Southern United States, American South and Slavery in the United States, American slavery. He was noted for bringing a Marxism, Marxist perspective to ...
* Annette Gordon-Reed * Lorenzo Greene * Herbert Gutman * Steven Hahn * Vincent Harding * Asa Grant Hilliard III * George G. M. James * William Loren Katz * Peter Kolchin *
Brent Leggs Demond "Brent" Leggs (born 22 November 1972) is an African Americans, African American architectural historian and Historic preservation, preservationist from Paducah, Kentucky. Among his roles at the National Trust for Historic Preservation he has ...
*
David Levering Lewis David Levering Lewis (born May 25, 1936) is an American historian, a Julius Silver University Professor, and a professor of history at New York University. He is twice winner of the Pulitzer Prize Pulitzer Prize for Biography or Autobiography, for ...
* Leon F. Litwack *
Rayford Logan Rayford Whittingham Logan (January 7, 1897 – November 4, 1982) was an African-American historian and Pan-African Pan-Africanism is a worldwide movement that aims to encourage and strengthen bonds of solidarity between all Indigenous and di ...
*
Malcolm X Malcolm X (born Malcolm Little, later Malik el-Shabazz; May 19, 1925 – February 21, 1965) was an American Islam in the United States, Muslim minister and human rights activist who was a prominent figure during the civil rights movement. A sp ...
*
Manning Marable William Manning Marable (May 13, 1950 – April 1, 2011) was an American professor of public policy, public affairs, history and African-American Studies at Columbia University.Grimes, William"Manning Marable, Historian and Social Critic, Dies at ...
*
Thurgood Marshall Thurgood Marshall (July 2, 1908 – January 24, 1993) was an American civil rights lawyer and jurist who served as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States, associate justice of the Supreme Court of the United States fro ...
* Gwendolyn Midlo Hall * Nell Irvin Painter * Rosa Parks * Benjamin Quarles * Cedric Robinson *
Joel Augustus Rogers Joel Augustus Rogers (September 6, 1880– March 26, 1966) was a Jamaican-American author, journalist, and historian who focused on the history of Africa; as well as the African diaspora The African diaspora is the worldwide collection of ...
* Mark S. Weiner * Charles H. Wesley * Isabel Wilkerson * Carter G. Woodson


See also

*
First Africans in Virginia The first Africans in Virginia were a group of "twenty and odd" captive enslaved persons originally from modern-day Angola who landed at Old Point Comfort in Hampton, Virginia in late August 1619, whose arrival is seen as a beginning of the histo ...
*
Black Belt in the American South The Black Belt in the American South refers to the social history, especially concerning slavery and black workers, of the geological region known as the Black Belt (geological formation), Black Belt. The geology emphasizes the highly fertile ...
* American Descendants of Slavery *
Black History Month Black History Month is an annual observance originating in the 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 Continental United States, primarily ...
* Timeline of African-American history * ''
Destination Freedom ''Destination Freedom'' was a weekly radio program produced by WMAQ (AM), WMAQ in Chicago from 1948 to 1950 that presented biographical histories of prominent African-Americans such as George Washington Carver, Satchel Paige, Frederick Douglass, ...
'' – radio dramas retelling African American history * Military history of African Americans in the Vietnam War *
History of the Southern United States The history of the Southern United States spans back thousand of years to the first evidence of human occupation. The Paleo-Indians were the first peoples to inhabit the Americas The Americas, which are sometimes collectively called ...
*
History of the United States The history of the lands that became the United States began with the arrival of Settlement of the Americas, the first people in the Americas around 15,000 BC. Native American cultures in the United States, Numerous indigenous cultures formed ...
*
National Museum of African American History and Culture The National Museum of African American History and Culture (NMAAHC) is a Smithsonian Institution museum located on the National Mall in Washington, D.C., in the United States. It was established in December 2003 and opened its permanent home in ...
*
African-American culture African-American culture refers to the contributions of African Americans to the culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from mainstream American culture. The culture is both distinct and enormously influential on Ameri ...
* African-American Heritage Sites * African-American history of agriculture in the United States *
African American Historic Places The following is a dynamic and expanding list of African-American historic places in the United States and territories which have been documented to be of significance to illustrating the experience of the African diaspora in America. Some are l ...
* List of monuments to African Americans *
Discrimination in the United States Discrimination comprises "base or the basis of class or category without regard to individual merit, especially to show prejudice on the basis of ethnicity, gender, or a similar social factor". This term is used to highlight the difference in t ...
*
Black genocide In the United States, black genocide is the notion that the mistreatment of African Americans by both the United States government and white Americans, both in the past and the present, amounts to genocide. The decades of Lynching in the United ...
– the notion that African Americans have been subjected to
genocide Genocide is the intentional destruction of a people—usually defined as an Ethnic group, ethnic, nationality, national, race (classification of humans), racial, or Religion, religious group—in whole or in part. Raphael Lemkin coined the term ...
* List of expulsions of African Americans *
Lynching in the United States Lynching was the widespread occurrence of extrajudicial killings which began in the United States' Antebellum South, pre–Civil War South in the 1830s and ended during the civil rights movement in the 1950s and 1960s. Although the victims ...
*
Mass racial violence in the United States In the broader context of racism against Black Americans and racism in the United States, mass racial violence in the United States consists of ethnic conflicts and List of ethnic riots#United States, race riots, along with such events as: * Raci ...
*
Racial segregation in the United States In the United States, racial segregation is the systematic separation of facilities and services such as Housing in the United States, housing, Healthcare in the United States, healthcare, Education in the United States, education, Employment in ...
*
Racial segregation of churches in the United States Racial segregation of churches in the United States is a pattern of Christianity, Christian churches maintaining Racial segregation in the United States, segregated congregations based on Race (human categorization), race. As of 2001, as many as 87 ...
*
Racism against Black Americans In the context of racism in the United States, racism against African Americans dates back to the Colonial history of the United States, colonial era, and it continues to be a persistent issue in Society of the United States, American society i ...
*
Racism in the United States Racism in the United States comprises negative attitudes and views on Race and ethnicity in the United States, race or ethnicity which are related to each other, are held by various people and groups in the United States, and have been reflect ...
*
Slavery in the United States The legal institution of human Slavery#Chattel slavery, chattel slavery, comprising the enslavement primarily of List of ethnic groups of Africa, Africans and African Americans, was prevalent in the United States, United States of America ...
*
Slavery among Native Americans in the United States Slavery among Native Americans in the United States includes slavery by and slavery of Native Americans roughly within what is currently the United States of America. Tribal territories and the slave trade ranged over present-day borders. ...
* Slave health on plantations in the United States *
Slave states and free states In the United States before 1865, a slave state was a U.S. state, state in which Slavery in the United States, slavery and the internal or domestic slave trade were legal, while a free state was one in which they were not. Between 1812 and 185 ...
*
Field slaves in the United States Field hands were Slavery in the United States, slaves who labored in the plantation fields. They commonly were used to plant, tend, and harvest cotton, sugar, rice, and tobacco. Chores Field slaves usually worked in the fields from sunrise t ...
*
Treatment of the enslaved in the United States The treatment of slaves in the United States often included sexual abuse and rape, the denial of education, and punishments like Flagellation, whippings. Families were often split up by the sale of one or more members, usually never to see or h ...
*
Terrorism in the United States In the United States, a common definition of terrorism is the systematic or Threatening terrorism against the United States, threatened use of violence in order to create a general climate of fear to intimidate a population or government an ...
*
Domestic terrorism in the United States Domestic terrorism in the United States consists of incidents which are confirmed to be domestic definition of terrorism, terrorist acts. These attacks are considered domestic because they occurred within the United States and they were carried ...
* Religion of black Americans * List of museums focused on African Americans *
Culture of Africa The Culture of Africa is varied and manifold, consisting of a mixture of countries with various tribes that each have their unique characteristic from the continent of Africa. It is a product of the diverse populations that inhabit the contine ...
*
History of Africa The history of Africa begins with the recent African origin of modern humans, emergence of hominids, archaic humans and — around 300–250,000 years ago—anatomically modern humans (''Homo sapiens''), in East Africa, and continues unbroken ...
*
African diaspora The African diaspora is the worldwide collection of communities descended from native Africans or List of ethnic groups of Africa, people from Africa, predominantly in the Americas. The term most commonly refers to the descendants of the West ...
* Maafa *
History of slavery The history of slavery spans many cultures, nationalities, and Slavery and religion, religions from Ancient history, ancient times to the present day. Likewise, its victims have come from many different ethnicities and religious groups. The socia ...
*
Plantation complexes in the Southern United States A plantation complex in the Southern United States is the built environment (or complex) that was common on agricultural plantations in the Southern United States, American South from the 17th into the 20th century. The complex included everyth ...
* List of plantations in the United States *
Culture of the Southern United States The culture of the Southern United States, Southern culture, or Southern heritage, is a subculture of the United States. The combination of its unique history and the fact that many Southerners maintain—and even nurture—an identity separate f ...
*
Culture of the United States The culture of the United States of America is primarily of Western culture, Western, and Culture of Europe, European origin, yet its influences includes the cultures of Asian Americans, Asian American, African Americans, African American, ...
*
Society of the United States The society of the United States is based on Western culture image:Da Vinci Vitruve Luc Viatour.jpg, Leonardo da Vinci's ''Vitruvian Man''. Based on the correlations of ideal Body proportions, human proportions with geometry described b ...
* African Americans in Africa *
Afro–Latin Americans Afro–Latin Americans or Black Latin Americans (sometimes ''Afro-Latinos'', ''Afro-Latines'', or ''Afro-Latinx''), are Latin Americans of full or mainly Sub-Saharan Africa, African ancestry. The term ''Afro–Latin American'' is not widely us ...
*
Afro-Mexicans Afro-Mexicans ( es, afromexicanos), also known as Black Mexicans ( es, mexicanos negros), are Mexicans who have heritage from sub-Saharan Africa and identify as such. As a single population, Afro-Mexicans include individuals descended from both f ...
*
Black Canadians Black Canadians (also known as Caribbean-Canadians or Afro-Canadians) are people of full or partial sub-Saharan African descent who are citizens or permanent residents of Canada Canada is a country in North America. Its Provinces and ...
* Impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on African-American communities *
African American Lives ''African American Lives'' is a PBS television miniseries hosted by historian Henry Louis Gates Jr., focusing on African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an Race and ethnicity in the ...
* Association for the Study of African American Life and History * Legacy Museum of African American History * Texas African American History Memorial * African American Military History Museum *
International African American Museum The International African American Museum (IAAM) is a museum of African-American history being built in Charleston, South Carolina, on the site where Gadsden's Wharf, the disembarkation point of up to 40% of all American enslaved persons, once stood ...
* Crack epidemic in the United States#Effect on African American communities * African-American veterans lynched after World War I


Regional history

* History of slavery in Alabama * History of slavery in Florida *
History of slavery in Georgia (U.S. state) Slavery in the United States, Slavery in Georgia is known to have been practiced by European colonists. During the colonial era, the practice of slavery in Georgia soon became surpassed by industrial-scale Field slaves in the United States, planta ...
*
History of slavery in Kentucky The history of slavery in Kentucky Kentucky ( , ), officially the Commonwealth of Kentucky, is a U.S. state, state in the Southeastern United States, Southeastern region of the United States and one of the states of the Upper South. It bo ...
* History of slavery in Maryland * History of slavery in New York (state) *
History of slavery in Virginia Slavery in Virginia began with the capture and enslavement of Native Americans during the early days of the English Colony of Virginia and through the late eighteenth century. They primarily worked in tobacco fields. Africans were first broug ...
* History of slavery in Texas * History of slavery in West Virginia *
History of slavery in Missouri The history of Slavery in the United States, large-scale slavery in the History of Missouri, region which later became the State of Missouri began in 1720, when a French merchant named Philippe François Renault brought about 500 slaves of African ...
*
History of slavery in Louisiana Following Robert Cavelier de La Salle establishing the French claim to the territory and the introduction of the name ''Louisiana'', the first settlements in the southernmost portion of Louisiana (New France) Louisiana (french: La Louisiane; ...
* History of slavery in North Carolina


Civil rights movement

*
Civil rights movement (1865–1896) The civil rights movement (1865–1896) aimed to eliminate racism, racial discrimination against African Americans, improve their educational and employment opportunities, and establish their electoral power, just after the abolition of slavery ...
* Civil rights movement (1896–1954) *
Civil rights movement The civil rights movement was a nonviolent social and political movement and campaign from 1954 to 1968 in the United States to abolish legalized institutional Racial segregation in the United States, racial segregation, Racial discrimination ...
*
Civil rights movement in popular culture The history of the 1954 to 1968 American civil rights movement has been depicted and documented in film, song, theater, television, and the visual arts. These presentations add to and maintain cultural awareness and understanding of the goals, tact ...
* History of civil rights in the United States * Timeline of the civil rights movement * 19th-century African-American civil rights activists * List of civil rights leaders * List of photographers of the civil rights movement *
Black school Black schools, also referred to as "colored" schools, were School segregation in the United States, racially segregated schools in the United States that originated after the American Civil War and Reconstruction era. The phenomenon began in the ...
*
Plantation house A plantation house is the main house of a plantation, often a substantial farmhouse, which often serves as a symbol for the plantation as a whole. Plantation complexes in the Southern United States, Plantation houses in the Southern United State ...
* Post–civil rights era in African-American history By state: * African Americans in Alabama * African Americans in Florida * African Americans in Georgia * African Americans in Kansas * African Americans in Louisiana *
African Americans in Maryland Southern Maryland is the home of the first person of African descent to be elected to and serve in a legislature in America. His name was Mathias de Sousa and he was one of the original colonists to arrive on the Ark in 1634. Southern Maryland is ...
* African Americans in Mississippi * African Americans in North Carolina * African Americans in South Carolina * South Carolina in the civil rights movement * African Americans in Tennessee * African Americans in Texas * African Americans in Utah * African Americans in Virginia * African Americans in Kentucky * List of Kentucky women in the civil rights era * African Americans in Arkansas * History of African Americans in Oregon * African Americans in Oklahoma * African Americans in New York In other regions: *
African Americans in Atlanta Black Atlantans are residents of the city Atlanta who are of African American ancestry. Atlanta Atlanta ( ) is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Georgia. It is the seat of Fulton County, the most popul ...
* African Americans in New York City * African Americans in Omaha, Nebraska * Civil rights movement in Omaha, Nebraska * Black Belt (region of Chicago) *
Black Belt (region of Alabama) The Black Belt is a region of the U.S. state In the 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 Continental United States, primarily located ...
* Black history in Puerto Rico * History of African Americans in Boston *
History of African Americans in Chicago The history of African Americans in Chicago or Black Chicagoans dates back to Jean Baptiste Point du Sable’s trading activities in the 1780s. Du Sable, the city's founder, was Haitian of African and French descent. Fugitive slave ...
* History of African Americans in Dallas-Ft. Worth * History of African Americans in Detroit *
History of African Americans in Houston The African American African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans and Afro-Americans) are an Race and ethnicity in the United States, ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total ancestry from sub-Saharan Africa ...
* History of African Americans in Philadelphia * History of African Americans in San Antonio * African Americans in Davenport, Iowa * History of African Americans in Austin * History of African Americans in Jacksonville, Florida * African Americans in Washington, D.C. * African Americans in Ghana * African Americans in Israel * African Americans in France * History of African Americans in Baltimore


Notes


Further reading


Reference books

* Earle, Jonathan, and Malcolm Swanston. ''The Routledge Atlas of African American History'' (2000)
excerpt and text search
* Finkelman, Paul, ed. ''Encyclopedia of African American History, 1619–1895: From the Colonial Period to the Age of Frederick Douglass'' (3 vols, 2006) * Finkelman, Paul, ed. ''Encyclopedia of African American History, 1896 to the Present: From the Age of Segregation to the Twenty-first Century'' (5 vols, 2009)
excerpt and text search
* Hine, Darlene Clark, Rosalyn Terborg-Penn and Elsa Barkley Brown, eds. ''Black Women in America – An Historical Encyclopedia'' (2005)
excerpt and text search
* Lowery, Charles D., and John F. Marszalek, eds. ''Encyclopedia of African-American Civil Rights: From Emancipation to the Present'' (1992)
online edition
* Palmer, Colin A., ed. ''Encyclopedia Of African American Culture And History: The Black Experience In The Americas'' (6 vols, 2005) * * Salzman, Jack, David Lionel Smith, and Cornel West, eds. ''Encyclopedia of African-American Culture and History'' (5 vols, 1996). * Smallwood, Arwin D. ''The Atlas of African-American History and Politics: From the Slave Trade to Modern Times'' (1997).


Surveys

* Bennett, Lerone, ''Before the Mayflower: A History of Black America, 1619–1962'' (2018), classic survey; * Franklin, John Hope, and Alfred Moss, ''From Slavery to Freedom. A History of African Americans'' (2001), standard textbook; first edition in 194
excerpt and text search
* Harris, William H. ''The Harder We Run: Black Workers Since the Civil War'' (1982)
online edition
* Hine, Darlene Clark, et al. ''The African-American Odyssey'' (2 vols, 4th edn 2007), textboo
excerpt and text search vol 1
* Holt, Thomas C., ed. ''Major Problems in African-American History: From Freedom to "Freedom Now," 1865–1990s'' (2000), reader in primary and secondary sources * Holt, Thomas C. ''Children of Fire: A History of African Americans'' (Hill & Wang; 2010), 438 pp. * Kelley, Robin D. G., and Earl Lewis, eds. ''To Make Our World Anew: A History of African Americans'' (2000). 672pp; 10 long essays by leading scholar
online edition
* Kendi, Ibram X. and Keisha N. Blain, eds. '' Four Hundred Souls: A Community History of African America, 1619–2019'' (One World, 2021). 528pp; anthology of 80 essays * Litwack, Leon, and August Meier. ''Black Leaders of the 19th Century.'' (1988) ** Franklin, John Hope, and August Meier, eds. ''Black Leaders of the Twentieth Century.'' (1982), short biographies by scholars. * Mandle, Jay R. ''Not Slave, Not Free: The African American Economic Experience since the Civil War'' (1992)
online edition
* Nash, Gary B. "The African Americans’ Revolution" in ''The Oxford Handbook of the American Revolution'' ed. by Jane Kamensky and Edward G. Gray (2012) online at DOI: 10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199746705.013.0015 * Painter, Nell Irvin. ''Creating Black Americans: African American History and Its Meanings, 1619 to the Present'' (2006), 480 pp. * Pinn, Anthony B. ''The African American Religious Experience in America'' (2007
excerpt and text search
* Tuck, Stephen. ''We Ain't What We Ought To Be: The Black Freedom Struggle from Emancipation to Obama'' (2011). * Weiner, Mark S. ''Black Trials: Citizenship from the Beginnings of Slavery to the End of Caste'' (2004).


Since 1914

* Allen, Walter R., et al. "From Bakke to Fisher: African American Students in US Higher Education over Forty Years." ''RSF: The Russell Sage Foundation Journal of the Social Sciences'' 4.6 (2018): 41–7
online
* Breen, William J. “Black Women and the Great War: Mobilization and Reform in the South.” ''Journal of Southern History'' 44#3 (1978), pp. 421–440
online
World War I * Finley, Randy. "Black Arkansans and World War One." ''Arkansas Historical Quarterly'' 49#3 (1990): 249–77. doi:10.2307/40030800. * Graham, Hugh Davis. ''The Civil Rights Era: Origins and Development of National Policy, 1960–1972'' (1990) * Hemmingway, Theodore. “Prelude to Change: Black Carolinians in the War Years, 1914–1920.” ''Journal of Negro History'' 65#3 (1980), pp. 212–227
online
* Patler, Nicholas. ''Jim Crow and the Wilson administration: protesting federal segregation in the early twentieth century'' (2007). * Patterson, James T. ''Grand Expectations: The United States, 1945–1974'' (Oxford History of the United States) (1997) * Patterson, James T. ''Restless Giant: The United States from Watergate to Bush v. Gore'' (Oxford History of the United States) (2007) * Scheiber, Jane Lang, and Harry N. Scheiber. "The Wilson administration and the wartime mobilization of black Americans, 1917–18." ''Labor History'' 10.3 (1969): 433–458. * Wynn, Neil A. ''African American Experience During World War II'' (2011) *


Activism and urban culture

* Bernstein, Shana. ''Bridges of Reform: Interracial Civil Rights Activism in Twentieth-Century Los Angeles'' (Oxford University Press, 2010) * Black Jr., Timuel D. ''Bridges of Memory; Chicago's First Wave of Black Migration: An Oral History,'' (2005). * Boyd, Herb, ed. ''The Harlem Reader: A Celebration of New York's Most Famous Neighborhood, from the Renaissance Years to the 21st Century'' (2003), primary sources * Branch, Taylor. ''Parting the Waters: America in the King Years, 1954–1963'' (1988); ''Pillar of Fire: America in the King Years, 1963–1965'' (1998); ''At Canaan's Edge: America in the King Years, 1965–1968'' (2006) * Carle, Susan D. ''Defining the Struggle: National Racial Justice Organizing, 1880–1915'' (Oxford University Press, 2013) * Cash, Floris Loretta Barnett. ''African American Women and Social Action: The Clubwomen and Volunteerism from Jim Crow to the New Deal, 1896–1936'' (Praeger, 2001) * Garrow, David. ''Bearing the Cross: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference'' (1999) * Gasman, Marybeth and Roger L. Geiger. ''Higher Education for African Americans before the Civil Rights Era, 1900–1964'' (2012) * Grossman, James R. ''Land of Hope: Chicago, Black Southerners, and the Great Migration'' (1991) * Hornsby, Alton. ''Black Power in Dixie: A Political History of African Americans in Atlanta'' (2009) * Hunt, Darnell, and Ana-Christina Ramon, eds. ''Black Los Angeles: American Dreams and Racial Realities'' (2010) * Kusmer, Kenneth L. and Joe W. Trotter, eds. ''African-American Urban History since World War II'' (2009) * Moore, Shirley Ann Wilson. ''To Place Our Deeds: The African American Community in Richmond, California, 19101963'' (2000) * Osofsky, Gilbert. ''Harlem: The Making of a Ghetto: Negro New York, 1890–1930'' (1966) * Orser, W. Edward. "Secondhand Suburbs: Black Pioneers in Baltimore's Edmondson Village, 1955–1980." ''Journal of Urban History'' 10, no. 3 (May 1990): 227–62. * Pattillo-McCoy, Mary. ''Black Pickett Fences: Privilege and Peril among the Black Middle Class'' (1999) * Player, Tiffany Angel. ''The Anti-lynching Crusaders: A Study of Black Women's Activism'' (PhD dissertation, University of Georgia, 2008
online
* Rabaka, Reiland. ''Hip Hop's Amnesia: From Blues and the Black Women's Club Movement to Rap and the Hip Hop Movement'' (Lexington Books, 2012) * Self, Robert O. ''American Babylon: Race and the Struggle for Postwar Oakland'' (2003) * Spear, Allan H. ''Black Chicago: The Making of a Negro Ghetto, 1890–1920'' (1969) * Sugrue, Thomas J. ''Sweet Land of Liberty: The Forgotten Struggle for Civil Rights in the North '' (2008)- 720pp comprehensive history of civil rights issue in the North, 1930s–2000
online
* Sugrue, Thomas J. '' The Origins of the Urban Crisis: Race and Inequality in Postwar Detroit'' (1996
online
* Thomas, Richard Walter. ''Life for Us Is What We Make It: Building Black Community in Detroit, 1915–1945'' (1992) * Washburn, Patrick S. ''The African American Newspaper: Voice of Freedom'' (Northwestern University Press, 2006) * Wiese, Andrew. ''Places of Their Own: African American Suburbanization in the Twentieth Century'' (2004). * Wiese, Andrew. "Black Housing, White Finance: African American Housing and Home Ownership in Evanston, Illinois, before 1940." ''Journal of Social History'' 33, no. 2 (Winter 1999): 429–60. * Wiese, Andrew. "Places of Our Own: Suburban Black Towns before 1960." ''Journal of Urban History'' 19, no. 3 (1993): 30–54. * Williams, Doretha. "Kansas Grows the Best Wheat and the Best Race Women: Black Women's Club Movement in Kansas 1900–30." (2011
online
* Wilson, William H. ''Hamilton Park: A Planned Black Community in Dallas'' (1998)


Historiography and teaching

* Arnesen, Eric. "Up From Exclusion: Black and White Workers, Race, and the State of Labor History," ''Reviews in American History'' 26(1) March 1998, pp. 146–174 in
Project MUSE Project MUSE, a Nonprofit organization, non-profit collaboration between libraries and publishers, is an online database of peer review, peer-reviewed academic journals and electronic books. Project MUSE contains digital humanities and social scie ...
* Dagbovie, Pero Gaglo. ''African American History Reconsidered'' (2010); 255 pages
excerpt and text search
** Dagbovie, Pero. ''The Early Black History Movement, Carter G. Woodson, and Lorenzo Johnston Greene'' (2007
excerpt and text search
** Dagbovie, Pero Gaglo. "Exploring a Century of Historical Scholarship on Booker T. Washington." ''Journal of African American History'' 2007 92(2): 239–264. Fulltext:
Ebsco EBSCO Industries is an American company founded in 1944 by Elton Bryson Stephens Sr. and headquartered in Birmingham, Alabama, Birmingham, Alabama. The ''EBSCO'' acronym is based on ''Elton Bryson Stephens Company''. EBSCO Industries is a diver ...
* Dorsey, Allison. "Black History Is American History: Teaching African American History in the Twenty-first Century." ''Journal of American History'' 2007 93(4): 1171–1177. Fulltext:
History Cooperative History Cooperative was an online database of scholarly history articles from leading journals. It provided online access to library users to recent articles from 20 major journals and other online sources. It closed operations in May, 2010.Stan K ...
* Ernest, John. "Liberation Historiography: African-American Historians before the Civil War," ''American Literary History'' 14(3), Fall 2002, pp. 413–443 in
Project MUSE Project MUSE, a Nonprofit organization, non-profit collaboration between libraries and publishers, is an online database of peer review, peer-reviewed academic journals and electronic books. Project MUSE contains digital humanities and social scie ...
* Eyerman, Ron. ''Cultural Trauma: Slavery and the Formation of African American Identity'' (2002) argues that slavery emerged as a central element of the collective identity of African Americans in the post-Reconstruction era. * Fields, Barbara J. "Ideology and Race in American History," in J. Morgan Kousser and James M. McPherson, eds, ''Region, Race, and Reconstruction: Essays in Honor of C. Vann Woodward'' (1982), * Franklin, John Hope. "Afro-American History: State of the Art," ''Journal of American History'' (June 1988): 163–173
in JSTOR
* Goggin, Jacqueline. ''Carter G. Woodson: A Life in Black History'' (1993) * Hall, Stephen Gilroy. "'To Give a Faithful Account of the Race': History and Historical Consciousness in the African-American Community, 1827–1915." PhD dissertation, Ohio State University, 1999. 470 pp. DAI 2000 60(8): 3084-A. DA9941339 Fulltext: ProQuest Dissertations & Theses * * Harris, Robert L., Jr. "The Flowering of Afro-American History." ''American Historical Review'' 1987 92(5): 1150–1161.
in Jstor
* * * Hine, Darlene Clark, ed. ''Afro-American History: Past, Present, and Future'' (1980). * Hine, Darlene Clark. ''Hine Sight: Black Women and the Re-Construction of American History'' (1999)
excerpt and text search
* Hornsby Jr., Alton, et al. eds. ''A Companion to African American History'' (2005). 580 pp. 31 long essays by experts covering African and diasporic connections in the context of the transatlantic slave trade; colonial and antebellum African, European, and indigenous relations; processes of cultural exchange; war and emancipation; post-emancipation community and institution building; intersections of class and gender; migration; and struggles for civil rights. * McMillen, Neil R. "Up from Jim Crow: Black History Enters the Profession's Mainstream." ''Reviews in American History'' 1987 15(4): 543–549.
in Jstor
* Meier, August, and Elliott Rudwick. ''Black History and the Historical Profession, 1915–1980'' (1986) * Nelson, Hasker. ''Listening For Our Past: A Lay Guide To African American Oral History Interviewing'' (2000)
excerpt and text search
* Quarles, Benjamin. ''Black Mosaic: Essays in Afro-American History and Historiography'' (1988). * Rabinowitz, Howard N. "More Than the Woodward Thesis: Assessing The Strange Career of Jim Crow", ''Journal of American History'' 75 (December 1988): 842–56
in JSTOR
* Reidy, Joseph P. "Slave Emancipation Through the Prism of Archives Records" (1997)

* Roper, John Herbert. ''U. B. Phillips: A Southern Mind'' (1984), on the white historian of slavery * Strickland, Arvarh E., and Robert E. Weems, eds. ''The African American Experience: An Historiographical and Bibliographical Guide'' (Greenwood, 2001). 442pp; 17 topical chapters by experts. * Trotter, Joe W. "African-American History: Origins, Development, and Current State of the Field," ''OAH Magazine of History'' 7(4), Summer 1993
online edition
* Wright, William D. ''Black History and Black Identity: A Call for a New Historiography'' (2002), proposes new racial and ethnic terminology and classifications for the study of black people and histor
excerpt and text search
*


Primary sources

* Aptheker, Herbert, ed. ''A Documentary History of the Negro People in the United States.'' (7 vols, 1951–1994) * Baker, Ray Stannard. ''Following the Color Line: An Account of Negro Citizenship in the American Democracy'' (1908
online
* Berlin, Ira, ed. ''Free at Last: A Documentary History of Slavery, Freedom, and the Civil War'' (1995) * Bracey, John H., and Manisha Sinha, eds. ''African American Mosaic: A Documentary History from the Slave Trade to the Twenty-First Century,'' (2 vols, 2004) * Chafe, William Henry, Raymond Gavins, and Robert Korstad, eds. ''Remembering Jim Crow: African Americans Tell About Life in the Segregated South'' (2003
excerpt and text search
* Finkenbine, Roy E. ''Sources of the African-American Past: Primary Sources in American History'' (2nd edn 2003) * Hampton, Henry, and Steve Fayer, eds. ''Voices of Freedom'' (1990), oral histories of civil rights movement * by a white Harvard professor; focus on race relations * King Jr., Martin Luther. ''I Have a Dream: Writings and Speeches That Changed the World'' (1992)
excerpt and text search
* King Jr., Martin Luther. '' Why We Can't Wait'' (1963/1964; 2000) * King Jr., Martin Luther. ''The Papers of Martin Luther King, Jr.: Volume VI: Advocate of the Social Gospel, September 1948–March 1963'' (2007
excerpt and text search
* Levy, Peter B. ''Let Freedom Ring: A Documentary History of the Modern Civil Rights Movement'' (1992)
online edition
* Rawick, George P. ed. ''The American Slave: A Composite Autobiography'' (19 vols, 1972), oral histories with ex-slaves conducted in the 1930s by
Works Progress Administration The Works Progress Administration (WPA; renamed in 1939 as the Work Projects Administration) was an American New Deal agency that employed millions of jobseekers (mostly men who were not formally educated) to carry out public works projects, ...
* Sernett, Milton C. ''African American Religious History: A Documentary Witness'' (1999
excerpt and text search
* Wright, Kai, ed. ''The African-American Archive: The History of the Black Experience Through Documents'' (2001)


External links

*
A daily look into the great events and people in African American history

Pioneering African American oral history video excerpts
at The National Visionary Leadership Project
Black History Daily – 365 days of Black History



"African American History Channel"
– African-American History Channel
"Africans in America"
– PBS 4-Part Series (2007)

PBS Red Hand flag Episode 2008
Living Black History:
How Reimagining the African-American Past Can Remake America's Racial Future b
Dr. Manning Marable
(2006)

– African American History and Culture

– African American Odyssey
Center for Contemporary Black History
at Columbia University
''Encyclopædia Britannica'' – Guide to Black History

Missouri State Archives – African-American History Initiative

Black History Month

"Remembering Jim Crow"
– Minnesota Public Radio (multi-media)

History in Action Toys
"Slavery and the Making of America"
– PBS – WNET, New York (4-part series)

of Slavery in America

* ttp://www.mercyseatfilms.com/filmcredits.html "They Closed Our Schools", the story of Massive Resistance and the closing of the Prince Edward County, Virginia public schools
Black People in History


* [https://web.archive.org/web/20070222044929/http://www.floridamemory.com/OnlineClassroom/blackhistory/ Historical resources related to African American history provided free for public use by the State Archives of Florida]
USF Africana Project
A guide to African-American genealogy


Research African-American Records at the National Archives

Memphis Civil Rights Digital Archive


Photographs of African-American life and racial attitudes, 1850–1940, from the collection of th
Beinecke Rare Book and Manuscript Library at Yale University

Black History Milestones

African-American Collection
McLean County Museum of History {{DEFAULTSORT:African American History History of the United States by ethnic group African diaspora history History by ethnic group History of the Southern United States History of the United States by topic