African American

African American

Overview
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States. Most African Americans are of West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

n descent. However, some immigrants
African immigration to the United States
African immigration to the United States refers to the group of recent immigrants to the United States who are nationals of Africa. The term African in the scope of this article refers to geographical or national origins rather than racial affiliation....

 from African, Caribbean, Central American or South American nations, or their descendants, may also self-identify with the term.

African Americans make up the single largest racial minority in the United States.

African-American history starts in the 16th century with African slaves who quickly rose up against the Spanish explorer
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón
Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón
Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón was a Spanish explorer who in 1526 established the short-lived San Miguel de Gualdape colony, the first European attempt at a settlement in what is now the continental United States...

 and progresses to the present day, when Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 has been elected as the 44th and current President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

.
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Unanswered Questions
Timeline

1820   The first 86 African American immigrants sponsored by the American Colonization Society started a settlement in present-day Liberia.

1863   American Civil War: The 54th Massachusetts Volunteer Infantry, the first African American regiment, leaves Boston, Massachusetts, to fight for the Union.

1864   American Civil War: The Fort Pillow massacre: Confederate forces kill most of the African American soldiers that surrendered at Fort Pillow, Tennessee.

1865   American Civil War: The Confederate States of America agree to the use of African American troops.

1867   African American men are granted the right to vote in Washington, D.C.

1868   The 14th Amendment to the United States Constitution is ratified guaranteeing African Americans full citizenship and all persons in the United States due process of law.

1870   Hiram Rhodes Revels, a Republican from Mississippi, is sworn into the United States Senate, becoming the first African American ever to sit in the U.S. Congress.

1877   Henry Ossian Flipper becomes the first African American cadet to graduate from the United States Military Academy.

1892   The New Orleans general strike begins, uniting black and white American trade unionists in a successful four-day general strike action for the first time.

1900   American Civil War: Sergeant William Harvey Carney becomes the first African American to be awarded the Medal of Honor, for his heroism in the Assault on the Battery Wagner in 1863.

 
Quotations

I am America. I am the part you won't recognize. But get used to me. Black, confident, cocky; my name, not yours; my religion, not yours; my goals, my own; get used to me.

Muhammad Ali|Muhammad Ali, The Greatest

The common goal of 22 million Afro-Americans is respect as human beings, the God-given right to be a human being. Our common goal is to obtain the human rights that America has been denying us. We can never get civil rights in America until our human rights are first restored. We will never be recognized as citizens there until we are first recognized as humans.

Malcolm X|Malcom X, "Racism: the Cancer that is Destroying America", in Egyptian Gazette

If we accept and acquiesce in the face of discrimination, we accept the responsibility ourselves and allow those responsible to salve their conscience by believing that they have our acceptance and concurrence. We should, therefore, protest openly everything . . . that smacks of discrimination or slander.

Mary McLeod Bethune|Mary McLeod Bethune, "Certain Unalienable Rights", What the Negro Wants, edited by Rayford W. Logan

My father was a slave and my people died to build this country, and I'm going to stay right here and have a part of it, just like you. And no fascist-minded people like you will drive me from it. Is that clear?

Paul Robeson|Paul Robeson, testimony on June 12. 1956 before the House Un-American Activities Committee

The workings of the human heart are the profoundest mystery of the universe. One moment they make us despair of our kind, and the next we see in them the reflection of the divine image.

Charles W. Chesnutt|Charles W. Chesnutt, The Marrow of Tradition

It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others. . . . One ever feels his twoness,—an American, a Negro; two souls, two thoughts, two unreconciled strivings; two warrings ideals in one dark body, whose dogged strength alone keeps it from being torn asunder.

W.E.B. Du Bois|W.E.B. Dubois, The Souls of Black Folk

We have come over a way that with tears has been watered, We have come, treading our path through the blood of the slaughtered.

James Weldon Johnson|James Weldon Johnson, "Lift Every Voice and Sing"

Freedom is never given; it is won.

A. Philip Randolph|A. Phillip Randolph, Keynote speech given in 1937 at the Second National Negro Congress
Encyclopedia
African Americans are citizens or residents of the United States
United States
The United States of America is a federal constitutional republic comprising fifty states and a federal district...

 who have at least partial ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa
Sub-Saharan Africa as a geographical term refers to the area of the African continent which lies south of the Sahara. A political definition of Sub-Saharan Africa, instead, covers all African countries which are fully or partially located south of the Sahara...

 and are the direct descendants of enslaved Africans within the boundaries of the present United States. Most African Americans are of West Africa
West Africa
West Africa or Western Africa is the westernmost region of the African continent. Geopolitically, the UN definition of Western Africa includes the following 16 countries and an area of approximately 5 million square km:-Flags of West Africa:...

n descent. However, some immigrants
African immigration to the United States
African immigration to the United States refers to the group of recent immigrants to the United States who are nationals of Africa. The term African in the scope of this article refers to geographical or national origins rather than racial affiliation....

 from African, Caribbean, Central American or South American nations, or their descendants, may also self-identify with the term.

African Americans make up the single largest racial minority in the United States.

African-American history starts in the 16th century with African slaves who quickly rose up against the Spanish explorer
Spanish colonization of the Americas
Colonial expansion under the Spanish Empire was initiated by the Spanish conquistadores and developed by the Monarchy of Spain through its administrators and missionaries. The motivations for colonial expansion were trade and the spread of the Christian faith through indigenous conversions...

 Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón
Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón
Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón was a Spanish explorer who in 1526 established the short-lived San Miguel de Gualdape colony, the first European attempt at a settlement in what is now the continental United States...

 and progresses to the present day, when Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 has been elected as the 44th and current President of the United States
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

. Between those landmarks there were other events and issues, both resolved and ongoing, that were faced by African Americans. Some of these were slavery, reconstruction, development of the African-American community, participation in the great military conflicts of the United States
Military history of African Americans
The military history of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first black slaves during the colonial history of the United States to the present day...

, racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

, and the Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

.

Slavery era




The first African slaves arrived in the present-day United States as part of the San Miguel de Gualdape
San Miguel de Gualdape
San Miguel de Gualdape was the first European settlement inside what is now United States territory, founded by Spaniard Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón in 1526. It was to last only three months of winter before being abandoned in early 1527....

 colony (most likely located in the Winyah Bay
Winyah Bay
Winyah Bay is a coastal estuary that is the confluence of the Waccamaw River, the Pee Dee River, the Black River and the Sampit River in Georgetown County in eastern South Carolina...

 area of present-day South Carolina
South Carolina
South Carolina is a state in the Deep South of the United States that borders Georgia to the south, North Carolina to the north, and the Atlantic Ocean to the east. Originally part of the Province of Carolina, the Province of South Carolina was one of the 13 colonies that declared independence...

), founded by Spanish explorer Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón
Lucas Vásquez de Ayllón
Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón was a Spanish explorer who in 1526 established the short-lived San Miguel de Gualdape colony, the first European attempt at a settlement in what is now the continental United States...

 in 1526. The ill-fated colony was almost immediately disrupted by a fight over leadership, during which the slaves revolted and fled the colony to seek refuge among local Native Americans. De Ayllón and many of the colonists died shortly afterwards of an epidemic and the colony was abandoned, leaving the escaped slaves behind on North American soil.

In 1565, the colony of Saint Augustine in Florida, founded by Pedro Menendez de Aviles
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés
Pedro Menéndez de Avilés was a Spanish admiral and explorer, best remembered for founding St. Augustine, Florida in 1565. This was the first successful Spanish foothold in La Florida and remained the most significant city in the region for several hundred years. St...

, became the first permanent European settlement in North America. It included an unknown number of free and enslaved Africans that were part of this colonial expedition.

The first recorded Africans in British North America
British North America
British North America is a historical term. It consisted of the colonies and territories of the British Empire in continental North America after the end of the American Revolutionary War and the recognition of American independence in 1783.At the start of the Revolutionary War in 1775 the British...

 (including most of the future United States) arrived in 1619 in Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown, Virginia
Jamestown was a settlement in the Colony of Virginia. Established by the Virginia Company of London as "James Fort" on May 14, 1607 , it was the first permanent English settlement in what is now the United States, following several earlier failed attempts, including the Lost Colony of Roanoke...

. As English settlers died from harsh conditions, more and more Africans were brought to work as laborers. The Africans were likely treated as indentured servant
Indentured servant
Indentured servitude refers to the historical practice of contracting to work for a fixed period of time, typically three to seven years, in exchange for transportation, food, clothing, lodging and other necessities during the term of indenture. Usually the father made the arrangements and signed...

s, similar in legal position to poor English indenturees, who traded several years labor in exchange for passage to America. Africans could legally raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. They raised families, marrying other Africans and sometimes intermarrying with Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

 or English settlers
English American
English Americans are citizens or residents of the United States whose ancestry originates wholly or partly in England....

. By the 1640s and 1650s, several African families owned farms around Jamestown and some became wealthy by colonial standards.

The popular conception of a race-based slave system did not fully develop until the 18th century. The Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company
Dutch West India Company was a chartered company of Dutch merchants. Among its founding fathers was Willem Usselincx...

 introduced slavery in 1625 with the importation of eleven black slaves into New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam
New Amsterdam was a 17th-century Dutch colonial settlement that served as the capital of New Netherland. It later became New York City....

 (present-day New York City
New York City
New York is the most populous city in the United States and the center of the New York Metropolitan Area, one of the most populous metropolitan areas in the world. New York exerts a significant impact upon global commerce, finance, media, art, fashion, research, technology, education, and...

). All the colony's slaves, however, were freed upon its surrender to the British. Massachusetts
Massachusetts
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts is a state in the New England region of the northeastern United States of America. It is bordered by Rhode Island and Connecticut to the south, New York to the west, and Vermont and New Hampshire to the north; at its east lies the Atlantic Ocean. As of the 2010...

 was the first British colony to legally recognize slavery in 1641. It was not until 1662 that Virginia ruled that a slave mother's children would remain slaves.

The first black congregations and churches were organized before 1800 in both northern and southern cities following the Great Awakening
First Great Awakening
The First Awakening was a Christian revitalization movement that swept Protestant Europe and British America, and especially the American colonies in the 1730s and 1740s, leaving a permanent impact on American religion. It resulted from powerful preaching that gave listeners a sense of personal...

. By 1775, Africans made up 20% of the population in the American colonies
Thirteen Colonies
The Thirteen Colonies were English and later British colonies established on the Atlantic coast of North America between 1607 and 1733. They declared their independence in the American Revolution and formed the United States of America...

, which made them the second largest ethnic group after the English. During the 1770s, Africans, both enslaved and free, helped rebellious English colonists secure American Independence by defeating the British in the American Revolution
American Revolution
The American Revolution was the political upheaval during the last half of the 18th century in which thirteen colonies in North America joined together to break free from the British Empire, combining to become the United States of America...

. Africans and Englishmen fought side by side and were fully integrated. James Armistead
James Armistead
James Armistead Lafayette was the first African American double spy. An African American slave, Armistead was owned by William Armistead in Virginia during the American Revolution....

, an African American, played a large part in making possible the 1781 Yorktown victory
Siege of Yorktown
The Siege of Yorktown, Battle of Yorktown, or Surrender of Yorktown in 1781 was a decisive victory by a combined assault of American forces led by General George Washington and French forces led by the Comte de Rochambeau over a British Army commanded by Lieutenant General Lord Cornwallis...

, which established the United States as an independent nation. Other prominent African Americans were Prince Whipple
Prince Whipple
Prince Whipple was an African American slave who accompanied his owner, General William Whipple of the New Hampshire militia, during the American Revolutionary War.- Early life :William C...

 and Oliver Cromwell, who are both depicted in the front of the boat in George Washington
George Washington
George Washington was the dominant military and political leader of the new United States of America from 1775 to 1799. He led the American victory over Great Britain in the American Revolutionary War as commander-in-chief of the Continental Army from 1775 to 1783, and presided over the writing of...

's famous 1776 Crossing the Delaware
Washington Crossing the Delaware
Washington Crossing the Delaware is an 1851 oil-on-canvas painting by German American artist Emanuel Gottlieb Leutze. It commemorates General George Washington's crossing of the Delaware River on December 25, 1776, during the American Revolutionary War...

portrait.

By 1860, there were 3.5 million enslaved African Americans in the United States due to the Atlantic slave trade
Atlantic slave trade
The Atlantic slave trade, also known as the trans-atlantic slave trade, refers to the trade in slaves that took place across the Atlantic ocean from the sixteenth through to the nineteenth centuries...

, and another 500,000 African Americans lived free across the country. In 1863, during the American Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, President
President of the United States
The President of the United States of America is the head of state and head of government of the United States. The president leads the executive branch of the federal government and is the commander-in-chief of the United States Armed Forces....

 Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln
Abraham Lincoln was the 16th President of the United States, serving from March 1861 until his assassination in April 1865. He successfully led his country through a great constitutional, military and moral crisis – the American Civil War – preserving the Union, while ending slavery, and...

 signed the Emancipation Proclamation
Emancipation Proclamation
The Emancipation Proclamation is an executive order issued by United States President Abraham Lincoln on January 1, 1863, during the American Civil War using his war powers. It proclaimed the freedom of 3.1 million of the nation's 4 million slaves, and immediately freed 50,000 of them, with nearly...

. The proclamation declared that all slaves in states which had seceded from the Union were free. Advancing Union troops enforced the proclamation with Texas being the last state to be emancipated in 1865.

Reconstruction and Jim Crow




African Americans quickly set up congregations for themselves, as well as schools, community and civic associations, to have space away from white control or oversight. While the post-war reconstruction era was initially a time of progress for African Americans, in the late 1890s, Southern states enacted Jim Crow laws
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

 to enforce racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

 and disenfranchisement
Disfranchisement after the American Civil War
The Fifteenth Amendment to the United States Constitution was ratified in 1870 to protect the suffrage of freedmen after the American Civil War. It prevented any state from denying the right to vote to any male citizen on account of his race....

. Most African Americans followed the Jim Crow laws, using a mask of compliance to prevent becoming victims of racially motivated violence
Ethnic violence
Ethnic violence refers to violence expressly motivated by ethnic hatred...

. To maintain self-esteem and dignity, African Americans such as Anthony Overton
Anthony Overton
Anthony Overton , a banker and manufacturer, was the first African-American to lead a major business conglomerate. In 1898 he established Hygienic Manufacturing Company and produced a number of goods, including the nationally-known High Brown Face Powder, which was "the first market success in the...

 and Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary Jane McLeod Bethune was an American educator and civil rights leader best known for starting a school for African American students in Daytona Beach, Florida, that eventually became Bethune-Cookman University and for being an advisor to President Franklin D...

 continued to build their own schools
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Historically black colleges and universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the black community....

, churches, banks, social clubs, and other businesses.

In the last decade of the 19th century, racially discriminatory laws and racial violence aimed at African Americans began to mushroom in the United States. These discriminatory acts included racial segregation
Racial segregation
Racial segregation is the separation of humans into racial groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, or in the rental or purchase of a home...

—upheld by the United States Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson
Plessy v. Ferguson, 163 U.S. 537 , is a landmark United States Supreme Court decision in the jurisprudence of the United States, upholding the constitutionality of state laws requiring racial segregation in private businesses , under the doctrine of "separate but equal".The decision was handed...

 in 1896—which was legally mandated by southern states and nationwide at the local level of government, voter suppression or disenfranchisement in the southern states, denial of economic opportunity or resources nationwide, and private acts of violence and mass racial violence aimed at African Americans unhindered or encouraged by government authorities.

Great Migration and Civil Rights Movement


The desperate conditions of African Americans in the South that sparked the Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

 of the early 20th century, combined with a growing African American community in the Northern United States
Northern United States
Northern United States, also sometimes the North, may refer to:* A particular grouping of states or regions of the United States of America. The United States Census Bureau divides some of the northernmost United States into the Midwest Region and the Northeast Region...

, led to a movement to fight violence
Violence
Violence is the use of physical force to apply a state to others contrary to their wishes. violence, while often a stand-alone issue, is often the culmination of other kinds of conflict, e.g...

 and discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 against African Americans that, like abolitionism
Abolitionism
Abolitionism is a movement to end slavery.In western Europe and the Americas abolitionism was a movement to end the slave trade and set slaves free. At the behest of Dominican priest Bartolomé de las Casas who was shocked at the treatment of natives in the New World, Spain enacted the first...

 before it, crossed racial lines. The Civil Rights Movement from 1954 to 1968 was directed at abolishing racial discrimination
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 against African Americans, particularly in the Southern United States
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom was the largest political rally for human rights in United States history and called for civil and economic rights for African Americans. It took place in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday, August 28, 1963. Martin Luther King, Jr...

 and the conditions which brought it into being are credited with putting pressure on President John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

.

Johnson put his support behind passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 was a landmark piece of legislation in the United States that outlawed major forms of discrimination against African Americans and women, including racial segregation...

 that banned discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

 in public accommodations, employment, and labor unions
Trade union
A trade union, trades union or labor union is an organization of workers that have banded together to achieve common goals such as better working conditions. The trade union, through its leadership, bargains with the employer on behalf of union members and negotiates labour contracts with...

, and the Voting Rights Act (1965), which expanded federal authority over states to ensure black political participation through protection of voter registration and elections. By 1966, the emergence of the Black Power
Black Power
Black Power is a political slogan and a name for various associated ideologies. It is used in the movement among people of Black African descent throughout the world, though primarily by African Americans in the United States...

 movement, which lasted from 1966 to 1975, expanded upon the aims of the Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 to include economic and political self-sufficiency, and freedom from white authority.

Post-Civil Rights era


Politically and economically, blacks have made substantial strides during the post-civil rights era. In 1989, Douglas Wilder
Douglas Wilder
Lawrence Douglas "Doug" Wilder is an American politician, the first African American to be elected as governor of Virginia, and the second to serve as governor of a U.S. state. Wilder served as the 66th Governor of Virginia from 1990 to 1994. When earlier elected as Lieutenant Governor, he was...

 became the first African-American elected governor in U.S. history. There is currently one black governor; governor Deval Patrick
Deval Patrick
Deval Laurdine Patrick is the 71st and current Governor of Massachusetts. A member of the Democratic Party, Patrick served as an Assistant United States Attorney General under President Bill Clinton...

 of Massachusetts. Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas
Clarence Thomas is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Succeeding Thurgood Marshall, Thomas is the second African American to serve on the Court....

 became the second African-American Supreme Court Justice.In 1992 Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois
Illinois
Illinois is the fifth-most populous state of the United States of America, and is often noted for being a microcosm of the entire country. With Chicago in the northeast, small industrial cities and great agricultural productivity in central and northern Illinois, and natural resources like coal,...

 became the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate
United States Senate
The United States Senate is the upper house of the bicameral legislature of the United States, and together with the United States House of Representatives comprises the United States Congress. The composition and powers of the Senate are established in Article One of the U.S. Constitution. Each...

. 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.

On November 4, 2008, Democratic
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

 Senator Barack Obama
Barack Obama
Barack Hussein Obama II is the 44th and current President of the United States. He is the first African American to hold the office. Obama previously served as a United States Senator from Illinois, from January 2005 until he resigned following his victory in the 2008 presidential election.Born in...

 defeated
United States presidential election, 2008
The United States presidential election of 2008 was the 56th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on November 4, 2008. Democrat Barack Obama, then the junior United States Senator from Illinois, defeated Republican John McCain, the senior U.S. Senator from Arizona. Obama received 365...

 Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 Senator John McCain
John McCain
John Sidney McCain III is the senior United States Senator from Arizona. He was the Republican nominee for president in the 2008 United States election....

 to become the first African American to be elected President. At least 95 percent of African-American voters voted for Obama. He also received overwhelming support from young and educated whites, a majority of Asians, Hispanics
Hispanic and Latino Americans
Hispanic or Latino Americans are Americans with origins in the Hispanic countries of Latin America or in Spain, and in general all persons in the United States who self-identify as Hispanic or Latino.1990 Census of Population and Housing: A self-designated classification for people whose origins...

, and Native Americans
Native Americans in the United States
Native Americans in the United States are the indigenous peoples in North America within the boundaries of the present-day continental United States, parts of Alaska, and the island state of Hawaii. They are composed of numerous, distinct tribes, states, and ethnic groups, many of which survive as...

picking up a number of new states in the Democratic electoral column. Obama lost the overall white vote, although he won a larger proportion of white votes than any previous nonincumbent Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter
Jimmy Carter
James Earl "Jimmy" Carter, Jr. is an American politician who served as the 39th President of the United States and was the recipient of the 2002 Nobel Peace Prize, the only U.S. President to have received the Prize after leaving office...

. The following year Michael S. Steele
Michael S. Steele
Michael Stephen Steele is an American politician who served as the first African-American chairman of the Republican National Committee from January 2009 until January 2011. From 2003 to 2007, he was the seventh Lieutenant Governor of Maryland, the first African American elected to statewide...

 was elected the first African-American chairman of the national Republican Party
Republican National Committee
The Republican National Committee is an American political committee that provides national leadership for the Republican Party of the United States. It is responsible for developing and promoting the Republican political platform, as well as coordinating fundraising and election strategy. It is...

.

Demographics





In 1790, when the first U.S. Census
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

 was taken, Africans (including slaves and free people) numbered about 760,000—about 19.3% of the population. In 1860, at the start of the Civil War
American Civil War
The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

, the African American population had increased to 4.4 million, but the percentage rate dropped to 14% of the overall population of the country. The vast majority were slaves, with only 488,000 counted as "freemen
Freedman
A freedman is a former slave who has been released from slavery, usually by legal means. Historically, slaves became freedmen either by manumission or emancipation ....

". By 1900, the black population had doubled and reached 8.8 million. In 1910, about 90% of African Americans lived in the South, but large numbers began migrating north looking for better job opportunities and living conditions, and to escape Jim Crow laws
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

 and racial violence. The Great Migration
Great Migration (African American)
The Great Migration was the movement of 6 million blacks out of the Southern United States to the Northeast, Midwest, and West from 1910 to 1970. Some historians differentiate between a Great Migration , numbering about 1.6 million migrants, and a Second Great Migration , in which 5 million or more...

, as it was called, spanned the 1890s to the 1970s. From 1916 through the 1960s, more than 6 million black people moved north. But in the 1970s and 1980s, that trend reversed
New Great Migration
The New Great Migration is the term for demographic changes from 1965 to the present which are a reversal of the previous 35-year trend of black migration within the United States...

, with more African Americans moving south to the Sun Belt
Sun Belt
The Sun Belt or Spanish Belt is a region of the United States generally considered to stretch across the South and Southwest . Another rough boundary of the region is the area south of the 36th parallel, north latitude. It is the largest region which the U.S government does not recognize officially...

 than leaving it.

The following table of the African American population in the United States over time shows that the African American population, as a percentage of the total population, declined until 1930 and has been rising since then. >
African Americans in the United States
Year Number % of total population Slaves % in slavery
1790 757,208 19.3% (highest) 697,681 92%
1800 1,002,037 18.9% 893,602 89%
1810 1,377,808 19.0% 1,191,362 86%
1820 1,771,656 18.4% 1,538,022 87%
1830 2,328,642 18.1% 2,009,043 86%
1840 2,873,648 16.8% 2,487,355 87%
1850 3,638,808 15.7% 3,204,287 88%
1860 4,441,830 14.1% 3,953,731 89%
1870 4,880,009 12.7%
1880 6,580,793 13.1%
1890 7,488,788 11.9%
1900 8,833,994 11.6%
1910 9,827,763 10.7%
1920 10.5 million 9.9%
1930 11.9 million 9.7% (lowest)
1940 12.9 million 9.8%
1950 15.0 million 10.0%
1960 18.9 million 10.5%
1970 22.6 million 11.1%
1980 26.5 million 11.7%
1990 30.0 million 12.1%
2000 34.6 million 12.3%
2010 38.9 million 12.6%


By 1990, the African American population reached about 30 million and represented 12% of the U.S. population, roughly the same proportion as in 1900. In current demographics, according to 2005 U.S. Census
Census
A census is the procedure of systematically acquiring and recording information about the members of a given population. It is a regularly occurring and official count of a particular population. The term is used mostly in connection with national population and housing censuses; other common...

figures, some 39.9 million African Americans live in the United States, comprising 13.8% of the total population. The World Factbook
The World Factbook
The World Factbook is a reference resource produced by the Central Intelligence Agency of the United States with almanac-style information about the countries of the world. The official paper copy version is available from the National Technical Information Service and the Government Printing Office...

 gives a 2006 figure of 12.9% Controversy has surrounded the "accurate" population count of African Americans for decades. The NAACP believed it was under counted intentionally to minimize the significance of the black population in order to reduce their political power base.

At the time of the 2000 Census, 54.8% of African Americans lived in the South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

. In that year, 17.6% of African Americans lived in the Northeast
Northeastern United States
The Northeastern United States is a region of the United States as defined by the United States Census Bureau.-Composition:The region comprises nine states: the New England states of Connecticut, Maine, Massachusetts, New Hampshire, Rhode Island and Vermont; and the Mid-Atlantic states of New...

 and 18.7% in the Midwest
Midwestern United States
The Midwestern United States is one of the four U.S. geographic regions defined by the United States Census Bureau, providing an official definition of the American Midwest....

, while only 8.9% lived in the western
Western United States
.The Western United States, commonly referred to as the American West or simply "the West," traditionally refers to the region comprising the westernmost states of the United States. Because the U.S. expanded westward after its founding, the meaning of the West has evolved over time...

 states. The west does have a sizable black population in certain areas, however. California, the nation's most populous state, has the fifth largest African American population, only behind New York, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. According to the 2000 Census, approximately 2.05% of African Americans identified as Hispanic or Latino in origin, many of whom may be of Brazilian
Afro-Brazilian
In Brazil, the term "preto" is one of the five categories used by the Brazilian Census, along with "branco" , "pardo" , "amarelo" and "indígena"...

, Puerto Rican
Puerto Rican people
A Puerto Rican is a person who was born in Puerto Rico.Puerto Ricans born and raised in the continental United States are also sometimes referred to as Puerto Ricans, although they were not born in Puerto Rico...

, Dominican
Dominican American
A Dominican American is any American who has origins in the Dominican Republic.Immigration records of Dominicans in the United States date from the late 19th century, and New York City has had a Dominican community since the 1930s...

, Cuban
Afro-Cuban
The term Afro-Cuban refers to Cubans of Sub Saharan African ancestry, and to historical or cultural elements in Cuba thought to emanate from this community...

, Haitian, or other Latin American
Afro-Latin American
An Afro-Latin American is a Latin American person of at least partial Black African ancestry; the term may also refer to historical or cultural elements in Latin America thought to emanate from this community...

 descent. The only self-reported ancestral groups larger than African Americans are the Irish
Irish American
Irish Americans are citizens of the United States who can trace their ancestry to Ireland. A total of 36,278,332 Americans—estimated at 11.9% of the total population—reported Irish ancestry in the 2008 American Community Survey conducted by the U.S. Census Bureau...

 and Germans
German American
German Americans are citizens of the United States of German ancestry and comprise about 51 million people, or 17% of the U.S. population, the country's largest self-reported ancestral group...

. Because many African Americans trace their ancestry to colonial American origins, some simply self-identify as "American
American ethnicity
American ethnicity differs from United States nationality. An individual's nationality is American if he or she is a national of the United States of America. The circumstances under which a person is ethnically American are less clear....

".

U.S. cities



Almost 58% of African Americans lived in metropolitan area
Metropolitan area
The term metropolitan area refers to a region consisting of a densely populated urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories, sharing industry, infrastructure, and housing. A metropolitan area usually encompasses multiple jurisdictions and municipalities: neighborhoods, townships,...

s in 2000. With over 2 million black residents, New York City had the largest black urban
Urban area
An urban area is characterized by higher population density and vast human features in comparison to areas surrounding it. Urban areas may be cities, towns or conurbations, but the term is not commonly extended to rural settlements such as villages and hamlets.Urban areas are created and further...

 population in the United States in 2000, overall the city has a 28% black population. Chicago has the second largest black population, with almost 1.6 million African Americans in its metropolitan area, representing about 18 percent of the total metropolitan population.

Among cities of 100,000 or more, Detroit, Michigan had the highest percentage of black residents of any U.S. city in 2010, with 82%. Other large cities with African American majorities include New Orleans, Louisiana (60%), Baltimore, Maryland
Baltimore
Baltimore is the largest independent city in the United States and the largest city and cultural center of the US state of Maryland. The city is located in central Maryland along the tidal portion of the Patapsco River, an arm of the Chesapeake Bay. Baltimore is sometimes referred to as Baltimore...

 (63%) Atlanta, Georgia (54%), Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis, Tennessee
Memphis is a city in the southwestern corner of the U.S. state of Tennessee, and the county seat of Shelby County. The city is located on the 4th Chickasaw Bluff, south of the confluence of the Wolf and Mississippi rivers....

 (61%), and Washington, D.C. (50.7%).

The nation's most affluent county with an African American majority is Prince George's County, Maryland
Prince George's County, Maryland
Prince George's County is a county located in the U.S. state of Maryland, immediately north, east, and south of Washington, DC. As of 2010, it has a population of 863,420 and is the wealthiest African-American majority county in the nation....

, with a median income of $62,467. Within that county, among the wealthiest communities are Glenn Dale, Maryland
Glenn Dale, Maryland
Glenn Dale is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Prince George's County, Maryland, United States. The population was 12,609 at the 2000 census...

 and Fort Washington, Maryland
Fort Washington, Maryland
Fort Washington, Maryland is an unincorporated area and census-designated place in Prince George's County, Maryland in the suburbs of the capital city of the United States of America, Washington, D.C., south of the downtown district. It is a prosperous community with an African American majority...

. Other affluent predominantly African American counties include Dekalb County
DeKalb County, Georgia
DeKalb County is a county located in the U.S. state of Georgia. The population of the county was 691,893 at the 2010 census. Its county seat is the city of Decatur. It is bordered to the west by Fulton County and contains roughly 10% of the city of Atlanta...

 in Georgia, and Charles City County
Charles City County, Virginia
As of the census of 2000, there were 6,926 people, 2,670 households, and 1,975 families residing in the county. The population density was 38 people per square mile . There were 2,895 housing units at an average density of 16 per square mile...

 in Virginia. Queens County, New York
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

 is the only county with a population of 65,000 or more where African Americans have a higher median household income than White Americans.

Religion


The majority of African Americans are Protestant of whom many follow the historically black churches. Black church refers to churches which minister predominantly African American congregations. Black congregations were first established by freed slaves at the end of the 17th century, and later when slavery was abolished more African Americans were allowed to create a unique form of Christianity that was culturally influenced by African spiritual traditions.

According to a 2007 survey, more than half of the African American population are part of the historically black churches. The largest Protestant denomination among African Americans are the Baptists, distributed in four denominations, the largest being the National Baptist Convention
National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc.
The National Baptist Convention, USA, Inc. is the largest predominantly African-American Christian denomination in the United States and is the world's second largest Baptist denomination...

 and the National Baptist Convention of America
National Baptist Convention of America, Inc.
The National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. is an African-American Baptist body organized in 1915 as the result of a struggle to keep the National Baptist Publishing Board of Nashville independent. Those supporting the independence of the publishing board, headed by Rev. R. H...

. The second largest are the Methodists, the largest sects are the African Methodist Episcopal Church
African Methodist Episcopal Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Church, usually called the A.M.E. Church, is a predominantly African American Methodist denomination based in the United States. It was founded by the Rev. Richard Allen in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, in 1816 from several black Methodist congregations in the...

 and the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church
The African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church, or AME Zion Church, is a historically African-American Christian denomination. It was officially formed in 1821, but operated for a number of years before then....

. Pentecostals are mainly part of the Church of God in Christ
Church of God in Christ
The Church of God in Christ is a Pentecostal Holiness Christian denomination with a predominantly African-American membership. With nearly five million members in the United States and 12,000 congregations, it is the largest Pentecostal church and the fifth largest Christian church in the U.S....

. About 16% of African American Christians are members of white Protestant communions, these denominations (which include the United Church of Christ
United Church of Christ
The United Church of Christ is a mainline Protestant Christian denomination primarily in the Reformed tradition but also historically influenced by Lutheranism. The Evangelical and Reformed Church and the Congregational Christian Churches united in 1957 to form the UCC...

) mostly have a 2 to 3% African American membership. There are also large numbers of Roman Catholics, constituting 5% of the African American population. Of the total number of Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses
Jehovah's Witnesses is a millenarian restorationist Christian denomination with nontrinitarian beliefs distinct from mainstream Christianity. The religion reports worldwide membership of over 7 million adherents involved in evangelism, convention attendance of over 12 million, and annual...

, 22% are black.
Some African Americans follow Islam
Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

. Historically, between 15 to 30% of enslaved Africans brought to the Americas were Muslims, but most of these Africans were converted to Christianity during the era of American slavery. However during the 20th century, some African Americans converted to Islam, mainly through the influence of black nationalist
Black nationalism
Black nationalism advocates a racial definition of indigenous national identity, as opposed to multiculturalism. There are different indigenous nationalist philosophies but the principles of all African nationalist ideologies are unity, and self-determination or independence from European society...

 groups that preached with distinctive Islamic practices; these include the Moorish Science Temple of America
Moorish Science Temple of America
The Moorish Science Temple of America is an American organization founded in the early 20th century by Timothy Drew. He claimed it was a sect of Islam but he also drew inspiration from Buddhism, Christianity, Freemasonry, Gnosticism and Taoism....

, though the largest organization was the Nation of Islam
Nation of Islam
The Nation of Islam is a mainly African-American new religious movement founded in Detroit, Michigan by Wallace D. Fard Muhammad in July 1930 to improve the spiritual, mental, social, and economic condition of African-Americans in the United States of America. The movement teaches black pride and...

, founded during the 1930s, which attracted at least 20,000 people as of 1963, prominent members included activist Malcolm X
Malcolm X
Malcolm X , born Malcolm Little and also known as El-Hajj Malik El-Shabazz , was an African American Muslim minister and human rights activist. To his admirers he was a courageous advocate for the rights of African Americans, a man who indicted white America in the harshest terms for its...

 and boxer Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali
Muhammad Ali is an American former professional boxer, philanthropist and social activist...

.
Malcolm X is considered the first person to start the movement among African Americans towards mainstream Islam, after he left the Nation and made the pilgrimage to Mecca
Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

. In 1975, Warith Deen Mohammed, the son of Elijah Muhammad who took control of the Nation after his death, guided majority of its members to orthodox Islam. However, few members rejected these changes, in particular Louis Farrakhan
Louis Farrakhan
Louis Farrakhan Muhammad, Sr. is the leader of the African-American religious movement the Nation of Islam . He served as the minister of major mosques in Boston and Harlem, and was appointed by the longtime NOI leader, Elijah Muhammad, before his death in 1975, as the National Representative of...

, who revived the Nation of Islam in 1978 based on its original teachings.

African American Muslims constitute 20% of the total U.S. Muslim population
Islam in the United States
From the 1880s to 1914, several thousand Muslims immigrated to the United States from the Ottoman Empire, and from parts of South Asia; they did not form distinctive settlements, and probably most assimilated into the wider society....

, the majority are Sunni
Sunni Islam
Sunni Islam is the largest branch of Islam. Sunni Muslims are referred to in Arabic as ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah wa āl-Ǧamāʿah or ʾAhl ūs-Sunnah for short; in English, they are known as Sunni Muslims, Sunnis or Sunnites....

 or orthodox Muslims, some of these identify under the community of W. Deen Mohammed. The Nation of Islam led by Louis Farrakhan has a membership from 20,000—50,000 members.

There are relatively few African American Jews; estimates of their number range from 20,000 to 200,000. Most of these Jews are part of mainstream groups such as the Reform
Reform Judaism
Reform Judaism refers to various beliefs, practices and organizations associated with the Reform Jewish movement in North America, the United Kingdom and elsewhere. In general, it maintains that Judaism and Jewish traditions should be modernized and should be compatible with participation in the...

, Conservative
Conservative Judaism
Conservative Judaism is a modern stream of Judaism that arose out of intellectual currents in Germany in the mid-19th century and took institutional form in the United States in the early 1900s.Conservative Judaism has its roots in the school of thought known as Positive-Historical Judaism,...

, or Orthodox
Orthodox Judaism
Orthodox Judaism , is the approach to Judaism which adheres to the traditional interpretation and application of the laws and ethics of the Torah as legislated in the Talmudic texts by the Sanhedrin and subsequently developed and applied by the later authorities known as the Gaonim, Rishonim, and...

 branches of Judaism; although there are significant numbers of people who are part of non-mainstream Jewish groups, largely the Black Hebrew Israelites
Black Hebrew Israelites
Black Hebrew Israelites are groups of people mostly of Black African ancestry situated mainly in the United States who believe they are descendants of the ancient Israelites. Black Hebrews adhere in varying degrees to the religious beliefs and practices of mainstream Judaism...

, whose beliefs include the claim that African Americans are descended from the Biblical Israelites.

Contemporary issues


African Americans have improved their social and economic standing significantly since the Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 and recent decades have witnessed the expansion of a robust, African American middle class across the United States. Unprecedented access to higher education and employment in addition to representation in the highest levels of American government has been gained by African Americans in the post-civil rights era.

Nevertheless, due in part to the legacy of slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

, racism
Racism
Racism is the belief that inherent different traits in human racial groups justify discrimination. In the modern English language, the term "racism" is used predominantly as a pejorative epithet. It is applied especially to the practice or advocacy of racial discrimination of a pernicious nature...

 and discrimination
Discrimination
Discrimination is the prejudicial treatment of an individual based on their membership in a certain group or category. It involves the actual behaviors towards groups such as excluding or restricting members of one group from opportunities that are available to another group. The term began to be...

, African Americans as a group remain at a pronounced economic, educational and social disadvantage in many areas relative to European Americans. Persistent social, economic and political issues for many African Americans include inadequate health care access and delivery; institutional racism
Institutional racism
Institutional racism describes any kind of system of inequality based on race. It can occur in institutions such as public government bodies, private business corporations , and universities . The term was coined by Black Power activist Stokely Carmichael in the late 1960s...

 and discrimination in housing, education, policing, criminal justice
Criminal justice
Criminal Justice is the system of practices and institutions of governments directed at upholding social control, deterring and mitigating crime, or sanctioning those who violate laws with criminal penalties and rehabilitation efforts...

 and employment; crime, poverty and substance abuse
Substance abuse
A substance-related disorder is an umbrella term used to describe several different conditions associated with several different substances .A substance related disorder is a condition in which an individual uses or abuses a...

.

One of the most serious and long standing issues within African American communities is poverty. Poverty itself is a hardship as it is related to marital stress and dissolution, health problems, low educational attainment, deficits in psychological functioning, and crime. In 2004, 24.7% of African American families lived below the poverty level. In 2007, the average African American income was $33,916, compared with $54,920 for whites.

Politics and social issues



Collectively, African Americans are more involved in the American political process than other minority groups in the United States, indicated by the highest level of voter registration and participation in elections among these groups in 2004. African Americans collectively attain higher levels of education than immigrants to the United States. African Americans also have the highest level of Congressional representation
United States Congress
The United States Congress is the bicameral legislature of the federal government of the United States, consisting of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The Congress meets in the United States Capitol in Washington, D.C....

 of any minority group in the U.S.

The large majority of African Americans support the Democratic Party
Democratic Party (United States)
The Democratic Party is one of two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Republican Party. The party's socially liberal and progressive platform is largely considered center-left in the U.S. political spectrum. The party has the lengthiest record of continuous...

. In the 2004 Presidential Election
United States presidential election, 2004
The United States presidential election of 2004 was the United States' 55th quadrennial presidential election. It was held on Tuesday, November 2, 2004. Republican Party candidate and incumbent President George W. Bush defeated Democratic Party candidate John Kerry, the then-junior U.S. Senator...

, Democrat John Kerry
John Kerry
John Forbes Kerry is the senior United States Senator from Massachusetts, the 10th most senior U.S. Senator and chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. He was the presidential nominee of the Democratic Party in the 2004 presidential election, but lost to former President George W...

 received 88% of the African American vote compared to 11% for Republican
Republican Party (United States)
The Republican Party is one of the two major contemporary political parties in the United States, along with the Democratic Party. Founded by anti-slavery expansion activists in 1854, it is often called the GOP . The party's platform generally reflects American conservatism in the U.S...

 George W. Bush
George W. Bush
George Walker Bush is an American politician who served as the 43rd President of the United States, from 2001 to 2009. Before that, he was the 46th Governor of Texas, having served from 1995 to 2000....

. Although there is an African-American lobby in foreign policy
African-American lobby in foreign policy
The African-American lobby in foreign policy is a loose coalition of African-American groups and individuals who work to influence United States foreign policy in support of Africa.-History:...

, it has not had the impact that African American organizations have had in domestic policy.

Historically, African Americans were supporters of the Republican Party because it was Republican President Abraham Lincoln who helped in granting freedom to American slaves; at the time, the Republicans and Democrats represented the sectional
Sectionalism
-Defined:Sectionalism is loyalty to the interests of one's own region or section of the country, rather than to the country as a whole.-United States:...

 interests of the North
Northern United States
Northern United States, also sometimes the North, may refer to:* A particular grouping of states or regions of the United States of America. The United States Census Bureau divides some of the northernmost United States into the Midwest Region and the Northeast Region...

 and South
Southern United States
The Southern United States—commonly referred to as the American South, Dixie, or simply the South—constitutes a large distinctive area in the southeastern and south-central United States...

, respectively, rather than any specific ideology, and both right
Right-wing politics
In politics, Right, right-wing and rightist generally refer to support for a hierarchical society justified on the basis of an appeal to natural law or tradition. To varying degrees, the Right rejects the egalitarian objectives of left-wing politics, claiming that the imposition of equality is...

 and left
Left-wing politics
In politics, Left, left-wing and leftist generally refer to support for social change to create a more egalitarian society...

 were represented equally in both parties.

The African American trend of voting for Democrats can be traced back to the 1930s during the Great Depression
Great Depression
The Great Depression was a severe worldwide economic depression in the decade preceding World War II. The timing of the Great Depression varied across nations, but in most countries it started in about 1929 and lasted until the late 1930s or early 1940s...

, when Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin D. Roosevelt
Franklin Delano Roosevelt , also known by his initials, FDR, was the 32nd President of the United States and a central figure in world events during the mid-20th century, leading the United States during a time of worldwide economic crisis and world war...

's New Deal
New Deal
The New Deal was a series of economic programs implemented in the United States between 1933 and 1936. They were passed by the U.S. Congress during the first term of President Franklin D. Roosevelt. The programs were Roosevelt's responses to the Great Depression, and focused on what historians call...

 program provided economic relief to African Americans; Roosevelt's New Deal coalition
New Deal coalition
The New Deal Coalition was the alignment of interest groups and voting blocs that supported the New Deal and voted for Democratic presidential candidates from 1932 until the late 1960s. It made the Democratic Party the majority party during that period, losing only to Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952...

 turned the Democratic Party into an organization of the working class and their liberal allies, regardless of region. The African American vote became even more solidly Democratic when Democratic presidents John F. Kennedy
John F. Kennedy
John Fitzgerald "Jack" Kennedy , often referred to by his initials JFK, was the 35th President of the United States, serving from 1961 until his assassination in 1963....

 and Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon B. Johnson
Lyndon Baines Johnson , often referred to as LBJ, was the 36th President of the United States after his service as the 37th Vice President of the United States...

 pushed for civil rights legislation during the 1960s.

After over 50 years, marriage rates for all Americans began to decline while divorce rates and out-of-wedlock births have climbed. These changes have been greatest among African Americans. After more than 70 years of racial parity black marriage rates began to fall behind whites. Single-parent households have become common, and according to US census figures released in January 2010, only 38 percent of black children live with both their parents. Despite that and heavy Democratic leanings, African Americans favor "traditional American values" about family and marriage.

While 52% of Democrats support same-sex marriage, only 30% of black Democrats do. In 2008, though Democrats overwhelmingly voted (64%) against the California ballot proposition banning gay marriage
California Proposition 8 (2008)
Proposition 8 was a ballot proposition and constitutional amendment passed in the November 2008 state elections...

, blacks overwhelmingly approved (70% in favor) it, more than any other racial group. The high-profile candidacy of Barack Obama is credited with increasing black turnout on the bill which has been seen as the crucial difference in its passing.

Blacks also hold far more conservative opinions on abortion
Abortion
Abortion is defined as the termination of pregnancy by the removal or expulsion from the uterus of a fetus or embryo prior to viability. An abortion can occur spontaneously, in which case it is usually called a miscarriage, or it can be purposely induced...

, extramarital sex
Affair
Affair may refer to professional, personal, or public business matters or to a particular business or private activity of a temporary duration, as in family affair, a private affair, or a romantic affair.-Political affair:...

, and raising children out of wedlock than Democrats as a whole. On financial issues, however, African Americans are very much in line with Democrats, generally supporting a more progressive tax
Progressive tax
A progressive tax is a tax by which the tax rate increases as the taxable base amount increases. "Progressive" describes a distribution effect on income or expenditure, referring to the way the rate progresses from low to high, where the average tax rate is less than the marginal tax rate...

 structure to provide more services and reduce injustice and as well as more government spending on social services.

News media and coverage



News media
News media
The news media are those elements of the mass media that focus on delivering news to the general public or a target public.These include print media , broadcast news , and more recently the Internet .-Etymology:A medium is a carrier of something...

 coverage of African American news, concerns or dilemmas is inadequate, some activists and academics contend.
Activists also contend that the news media present distorted images of African Americans. To combat this African Americans founded their own television networks. Black Entertainment Television
Black Entertainment Television
Black Entertainment Television is an American, Viacom-owned cable network based in Washington, D.C.. Currently viewed in more than 90 million homes worldwide, it is the most prominent television network targeting young Black-American audiences. The network was launched on January 25, 1980, by its...

, founded by Robert L. Johnson
Robert L. Johnson
Robert L. Johnson is an American business magnate best known for being the founder of television network Black Entertainment Television , and is also its former chairman and chief executive officer...

 is a network that targets young African Americans and urban audiences in the United States.

Most programming on the network consists of rap
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

 and R&B
Contemporary R&B
Contemporary R&B is a music genre that combines elements of hip hop, soul, R&B and funk.Although the abbreviation “R&B” originates from traditional rhythm and blues music, today the term R&B is most often used to describe a style of African American music originating after the demise of disco in...

 music videos and urban-oriented movies and series. Additionally, the channel shows syndicated television series, original programs, and some public affairs programs. On Sunday mornings, BET broadcasts a lineup of network-produced Christian programming; other, non-affiliated Christian programs are also shown during the early morning hours daily. BET is now a global network that reaches 85 million viewers in the Caribbean, Canada, and the United Kingdom.

In addition to BET there is Centric, which is a spin-off cable television channel of BET, created originally as BET on Jazz to showcase jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

 music-related programming, especially that of black jazz musicians. Programming since has been expanded to include a block of urban programs as well as some R&B, neo soul
Neo soul
The term neo soul was originally coined by Kedar Massenburg of Motown Records in the late 1990s as a marketing category following the commercial breakthroughs of artists such as D'Angelo, Erykah Badu, Lauryn Hill, and Maxwell...

, and alternative hip hop
Alternative hip hop
Alternative hip hop is a sub-genre of hip hop music. Allmusic defines it as follows: -Origin:...

, with the focus on jazz reduced to low-profile hours.

TV One
TV One (Radio One)
TV One is an American television channel based in Silver Spring, Maryland and primarily owned by Radio One and Comcast Corporation. It targets African American adults with a broad range of programming...

 is another African American-oriented network and a direct competitor to BET. It targets African American adults with a broad range of programming. The network airs original lifestyle and entertainment-oriented shows, movies, fashion and music programming, as well as classic series such as 227
227 (TV series)
227 is an American situation comedy that originally aired on NBC from September 14, 1985, until May 6, 1990. The series starred Marla Gibbs as a sharp-tongued, inner-city resident gossip and housewife, Mary Jenkins...

, Good Times
Good Times
Good Times is an American sitcom that originally aired from February 8, 1974, until August 1, 1979, on the CBS television network. It was created by Eric Monte and Michael Evans, and developed by Norman Lear, the series' primary executive producer...

, Martin
Martin (TV series)
Martin is an American sitcom produced by HBO Independent Productions that aired for five seasons, from August 27, 1992 to May 1, 1997 on Fox...

, Boston Public
Boston Public
Boston Public is an American drama television series created by David E. Kelley and broadcast on Fox. It centered on Winslow High School, a fictional public high school located in Boston, Massachusetts. The show was named for the real public school district in which it takes place...

 and It's Showtime at the Apollo
Showtime at the Apollo
Showtime at the Apollo is a syndicated music television show, first broadcast on September 12, 1987 to May 24, 2008 with 1093 episodes, and is produced by the Apollo Theater...

. The network primarily owned by Radio One. Radio One, Inc., founded and controlled by Catherine Hughes
Cathy Hughes
Cathy Hughes, born Catherine Elizabeth Woods in Omaha, Nebraska on April 22, 1947, is an African-American entrepreneur, radio and television personality and business executive. Hughes founded the media company Radio One and later expanded into TV One, the company went public in 1998, making...

, it is one of the nation's largest radio broadcasting companies and the largest African American-owned radio broadcasting company in the United States.

Other African American networks scheduled to launch in 2009 are the Black Television News Channel founded by former Congressman J. C. Watts and Better Black Television
Better Black Television
Better Black Television is a cable television network founded by Percy Miller in 2008. BBT launched in November 2010. ....

 founded by Percy Miller
Master P
Percy Robert Miller , better known by his stage name Master P or his business name P. Miller, is an American rapper, actor, entrepreneur, investor, and producer. He is the founder of the popular label No Limit Records, which went bankrupt and was relaunched as New No Limit Records through Koch...

. In June 2009, NBC News
NBC News
NBC News is the news division of American television network NBC. It first started broadcasting in February 21, 1940. NBC Nightly News has aired from Studio 3B, located on floors 3 of the NBC Studios is the headquarters of the GE Building forms the centerpiece of 30th Rockefeller Center it is...

 launched a new website named The Grio
The Grio
TheGrio.com is a black and African-American video news site that focuses on underrepresented stories in existing national news that are important to the African-American community....

 in partnership with the production team that created the black documentary film, Meeting David Wilson
Meeting David Wilson
Meeting David Wilson is a 90-minute video produced for initial presentation on the MSNBC cable channel. Its focus is the encounter between David A. Wilson, a black American filmmaker who grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and David B. Wilson, a descendant of a white American tobacco-plantation owner...

. It is the first African American video news site which focuses on underrepresented stories in existing national news. The Grio
The Grio
TheGrio.com is a black and African-American video news site that focuses on underrepresented stories in existing national news that are important to the African-American community....

 consists of a broad spectrum of original video packages, news articles, and contributor blogs on topics including breaking news, politics, health, business, entertainment and Black History.

Education


By 2000, African Americans had advanced greatly. They still lagged overall in education attainment compared to white or Asian Americans, with 14 percent with four year and 5 percent with advanced degrees, though it was higher than for other minorities. African Americans attend college at about half the rate of whites, but at a greater rate than Americans of Hispanic origin. More African American women attend and complete college than men. Black school
Black school
Black schools originated under legal segregation in the southern United States after the American Civil War and Reconstruction era, in southern states' public policy to keep races separated and maintain white supremacy. In the United States white opposition to African American success resulted in...

s for kindergarten through twelfth grade students were common throughout the U.S., and a pattern towards re-segregation is currently occurring across the country.

Historically black colleges and universities
Historically Black Colleges and Universities
Historically black colleges and universities are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before 1964 with the intention of serving the black community....

 remain today which were originally set up when segregated colleges did not admit African Americans. As late as 1947, about one third of African Americans over 65 were considered to lack the literacy to read and write their own names. By 1969, illiteracy as it had been traditionally defined, had been largely eradicated among younger African Americans.

US Census surveys showed that by 1998, 89 percent of African Americans aged 25 to 29 had completed high school, less than whites or Asians, but more than Hispanics. On many college entrance, standardized tests and grades, African Americans have historically lagged behind whites, but some studies suggest that the achievement gap has been closing. Many policy makers have proposed that this gap can and will be eliminated through policies such as affirmative action, desegregation, and multiculturalism.

In Chicago, Marva Collins
Marva Collins
Marva Collins is an American educator who in 1975 started Westside Preparatory School in Garfield Park, an impoverished neighborhood of Chicago, Illinois. She ran the school for more than 30 years until it closed in 2008 due to lack of sufficient enrollment and funding...

, an African American educator, created a low cost private school specifically for the purpose of teaching low-income African American children whom the public school system had labeled as being "learning disabled". One article about Marva Collins' school stated,
Working with students having the worst of backgrounds, those who were working far below grade level, and even those who had been labeled as 'unteachable,' Marva was able to overcome the obstacles. News of third grade students reading at ninth grade level, four-year-olds learning to read in only a few months, outstanding test scores, disappearance of behavioral problems, second-graders studying Shakespeare, and other incredible reports, astounded the public.
During the 2006–2007 school year, Collins' school charged $5,500 for tuition, and parents said that the school did a much better job than the Chicago public school system. Meanwhile, during the 2007–2008 year, Chicago public school officials claimed that their budget of $11,300 per student was not enough.

Economic status



Economically, African Americans have benefited from the advances made during the Civil Rights era, particularly among the educated, but not without the lingering effects of historical marginalization when considered as a whole. The racial disparity in poverty rates has narrowed. The black middle class has grown substantially. In 2000, 47% of African Americans owned their homes. The poverty rate among African Americans has decreased from 26.5% in 1998 to 24.7% in 2004. African Americans are the second largest consumer group in America with a combined buying power of over $892 billion currently and likely over $1.1 trillion by 2012. In 2002 African American-owned businesses accounted for 1.2 million of the US's 23 million businesses. As of 2011 African American-owned business account for approximately 2 million US businesses. Black-owned businesses experienced the largest growth in number of businesses among minorities from 2002 to 2011.

In 2004, African American workers had the second-highest median
Median
In probability theory and statistics, a median is described as the numerical value separating the higher half of a sample, a population, or a probability distribution, from the lower half. The median of a finite list of numbers can be found by arranging all the observations from lowest value to...

 earnings of American minority group
Minority group
A minority is a sociological group within a demographic. The demographic could be based on many factors from ethnicity, gender, wealth, power, etc. The term extends to numerous situations, and civilizations within history, despite the misnomer of minorities associated with a numerical statistic...

s after Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

s, and African Americans had the highest level of male-female income parity of all ethnic groups in the United States. Also, among American minority group
Minority group
A minority is a sociological group within a demographic. The demographic could be based on many factors from ethnicity, gender, wealth, power, etc. The term extends to numerous situations, and civilizations within history, despite the misnomer of minorities associated with a numerical statistic...

s, only Asian American
Asian American
Asian Americans are Americans of Asian descent. The U.S. Census Bureau definition of Asians as "Asian” refers to a person having origins in any of the original peoples of the Far East, Southeast Asia, or the Indian subcontinent, including, for example, Cambodia, China, India, Indonesia, Japan,...

s were more likely to hold white-collar
White-collar worker
The term white-collar worker refers to a person who performs professional, managerial, or administrative work, in contrast with a blue-collar worker, whose job requires manual labor...

 occupations (management, professional, and related fields), and African Americans were no more or less likely than European Americans to work in the service industry. In 2001, over half of African American households of married couples earned $50,000 or more. Although in the same year African Americans were over-represented among the nation's poor, this was directly related to the disproportionate percentage of African American families headed by single women; such families are collectively poorer, regardless of ethnicity.

By 2006, gender continued to be the primary factor in income level, with the median earnings of African American men more than those black and non-black American women overall and in all educational levels. At the same time, among American men, income disparities were significant; the median income of African American men was approximately 76 cents for every dollar of their European American counterparts, although the gap narrowed somewhat with a rise in educational level.

Overall, the median earnings of African American men were 72 cents for every dollar earned of their Asian American counterparts, and $1.17 for every dollar earned by Hispanic men. On the other hand by 2006, among American women with post-secondary education, African American women have made significant advances; the median income of African American women was more than those of their Asian-, European- and Hispanic American counterparts with at least some college education.

African Americans are still underrepresented in government and employment. In 1999, the median income of African American families was $33,255 compared to $53,356 of European Americans. In times of economic hardship for the nation, African Americans suffer disproportionately from job loss and underemployment
Underemployment
Underemployment refers to an employment situation that is insufficient in some important way for the worker, relative to a standard. Examples include holding a part-time job despite desiring full-time work, and overqualification, where the employee has education, experience, or skills beyond the...

, with the black underclass being hardest hit. The phrase "last hired and first fired" is reflected in the Bureau of Labor Statistics
Bureau of Labor Statistics
The Bureau of Labor Statistics is a unit of the United States Department of Labor. It is the principal fact-finding agency for the U.S. government in the broad field of labor economics and statistics. The BLS is a governmental statistical agency that collects, processes, analyzes, and...

 unemployment figures. Nationwide, the October 2008 unemployment rate for African Americans was 11.1%, while the nationwide rate was 6.5%.

The income gap between black and white families is also significant. In 2005, employed blacks earned only 65% of the wages of whites, down from 82% in 1975. The New York Times reported in 2006 that in Queens
Queens
Queens is the easternmost of the five boroughs of New York City. The largest borough in area and the second-largest in population, it is coextensive with Queens County, an administrative division of New York state, in the United States....

, New York, the median income among African American families exceeded that of white families, which the newspaper attributed to the growth in the number of two-parent black families. It noted that Queens was the only county with more than 65,000 residents where that was true.

In 1999, the rate of births to unwed African American mothers was estimated by economist Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams
Walter E. Williams, is an American economist, commentator, and academic. He is the John M. Olin Distinguished Professor of Economics at George Mason University, as well as a syndicated columnist and author known for his libertarian views.- Early life and education :Williams family during childhood...

 of George Mason University
George Mason University
George Mason University is a public university based in unincorporated Fairfax County, Virginia, United States, south of and adjacent to the city of Fairfax. Additional campuses are located nearby in Arlington County, Prince William County, and Loudoun County...

 to be 70%. The poverty rate among single-parent black families was 39.5% in 2005, according to Williams, while it was 9.9% among married-couple black families. Among white families, the comparable rates were 26.4% and 6%.

According to Forbes
Forbes
Forbes is an American publishing and media company. Its flagship publication, the Forbes magazine, is published biweekly. Its primary competitors in the national business magazine category are Fortune, which is also published biweekly, and Business Week...

magazine's "wealthiest American" lists, a 2000 net worth of $800 million dollars made Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey is an American media proprietor, talk show host, actress, producer and philanthropist. Winfrey is best known for her self-titled, multi-award-winning talk show, which has become the highest-rated program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011...

 the richest African American of the 20th century; by contrast, the net worth of the 20th century's richest American, Bill Gates
Bill Gates
William Henry "Bill" Gates III is an American business magnate, investor, philanthropist, and author. Gates is the former CEO and current chairman of Microsoft, the software company he founded with Paul Allen...

, who is of European descent
White people
White people is a term which usually refers to human beings characterized, at least in part, by the light pigmentation of their skin...

, briefly hit $100 billion in 1999. In Forbes' 2007 list, Gates' net worth decreased to $59 billion while Winfrey's increased to $2.5 billion, making her the world's richest black person. Winfrey is also the first African American to make Business Week's annual list of America's 50 greatest philanthropists. BET founder Bob Johnson was also listed as a billionaire prior to an expensive divorce and as of 2009, had an estimated net worth of $550 million. Winfrey remains the only African American wealthy enough to rank among the country's 400 richest people. Some black entrepreneurs use their wealth to create new avenues for both African Americans and new opportunities for American business in general. Examples such as Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry
Tyler Perry is an American actor, director, playwright, entrepreneur, screenwriter, producer, author, and songwriter. Perry wrote and produced many stage plays during the 1990s and early 2000s. In 2005, he released his first film, Diary of a Mad Black Woman...

 who created new filming studios in Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta, Georgia
Atlanta is the capital and most populous city in the U.S. state of Georgia. According to the 2010 census, Atlanta's population is 420,003. Atlanta is the cultural and economic center of the Atlanta metropolitan area, which is home to 5,268,860 people and is the ninth largest metropolitan area in...

 which makes it possible to film movies and television shows outside of California.

Health



African Americans continue to have lower life expectancies on average than whites in the United States. Even with rates adjusted for age, African Americans are 1.6 times more likely to die from one of the 10 leading causes of death in the United States than European Americans. However, there is evidence that this may be changing: by 2003, sex had replaced race as the primary factor in life expectancy in the United States, with African American females expected to live longer than European American males born in that year.

In the same year, the gap in life expectancy
Life expectancy
Life expectancy is the expected number of years of life remaining at a given age. It is denoted by ex, which means the average number of subsequent years of life for someone now aged x, according to a particular mortality experience...

 between American whites (78.0) and blacks (72.8) had decreased to 5.2 years, reflecting a long term trend of this phenomenon. By 2004, "the trend toward convergence in mortality figures across the major race groups also continued", with white–black gap in life expectancy dropping to five years. The current life expectancy of African Americans as a group is comparable to those of other groups who live in countries with a high Human Development Index
Human Development Index
The Human Development Index is a composite statistic used to rank countries by level of "human development" and separate "very high human development", "high human development", "medium human development", and "low human development" countries...

.

At the same time, the life expectancy gap is affected by collectively lower access to quality medical care
Health care
Health care is the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of disease, illness, injury, and other physical and mental impairments in humans. Health care is delivered by practitioners in medicine, chiropractic, dentistry, nursing, pharmacy, allied health, and other care providers...

. With no system of universal health care
Universal health care
Universal health care is a term referring to organized health care systems built around the principle of universal coverage for all members of society, combining mechanisms for health financing and service provision.-History:...

, access to medical care in the U.S. generally is mediated by income level and employment status. As a result, African Americans, who have a disproportionate occurrence of poverty and unemployment as a group, are more often uninsured than non Hispanic whites or Asians. For a great many African Americans, healthcare delivery is limited, or nonexistent. And when they receive healthcare, they are more likely than others in the general population to receive substandard, even injurious medical care. African Americans have a higher prevalence of some chronic health conditions.

African Americans are twice as likely to have diabetes as whites, and twice as likely to die from the disease. Obesity affects 37% of men and 51% of women. This and other factors contribute to hypertension, which affects 40% of all adults. African American men are twice as likely to have diabetes induced end-stage kidney disease, and twice as likely to die of it than white men of the same age. African Americans are 1.7 times more likely to have a stroke and 60% more likely to die from it. Two reasons for poorer health are lack of routine preventative medical care, such as mammograms and colonoscopies, and lack of a primary care physcian.

While 1 in 6 Americans (16.2 percent) between the ages of 14 and 49 is infected with herpes simplex virus type 2 (HSV-2), the infection rate is more than three times higher among blacks (39.2 percent) than whites (12.3 percent). The most affected group is black women, with a prevalence rate of 48 percent. Dr. Kevin Fenton, director of the CDC's National Center for HIV/AIDS, Viral Hepatitis, STD and TB Prevention stated that "high rates of herpes among African-Americans is most likely contributing to the high rate of HIV in that community. In fact, statistics show that people with herpes are two to three times more likely to get HIV if exposed."

African Americans are the American ethnic group most affected by HIV
HIV
Human immunodeficiency virus is a lentivirus that causes acquired immunodeficiency syndrome , a condition in humans in which progressive failure of the immune system allows life-threatening opportunistic infections and cancers to thrive...

 and AIDS
AIDS
Acquired immune deficiency syndrome or acquired immunodeficiency syndrome is a disease of the human immune system caused by the human immunodeficiency virus...

, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention are a United States federal agency under the Department of Health and Human Services headquartered in Druid Hills, unincorporated DeKalb County, Georgia, in Greater Atlanta...

. Black men are six times more likely to have HIV than white men and black women are nearly 18 times more likely to have HIV than white women. A 2004 "CDC analysis of MSM
Men who have sex with men
Men who have sex with men are male persons who engage in sexual activity with members of the same sex, regardless of how they identify themselves; many men choose not to accept sexual identities of homosexual or bisexual...

 in five cities found that while only 18 percent of the HIV-infected white men were unaware of their infections, 67 percent of the infected black men were unaware."

It has been estimated that "184,991 adult and adolescent HIV infections [were] diagnosed during 2001–2005" (1). More than 51 percent occurred among blacks than any other race. Between the ages of 25–44 years 62 percent were African Americans. Dr. Robert Janssen (2007) states, "We have rates of HIV/AIDS among blacks in some American cities that are as high as in some countries in Africa". The rate for African Americans with HIV/AIDS in Washington, D.C. is 3 percent, based on cases reported. In a New York Times Article, about 50 percent of AIDS-related deaths were African American woman, which accounted for 25 percent of the city's population. In many cases there are a higher proportion of black people being tested than any other racial group. Dr. Janssen goes on by saying "We need to do a better job of encouraging African Americans to test. Studies show that approximately one in five black men between the ages 40 to 49 living in the city is HIV-positive, according to the TIMES. Research indicates that African Americans' sexual behavior is no different than any other racial group. Dr. Janssen says "Racial groups tend to have sex
Sexual intercourse
Sexual intercourse, also known as copulation or coitus, commonly refers to the act in which a male's penis enters a female's vagina for the purposes of sexual pleasure or reproduction. The entities may be of opposite sexes, or they may be hermaphroditic, as is the case with snails...

 with members of their own racial group.

Crime
Race and crime in the United States
The relationship between race and crime in the United States has been a topic of public controversy and scholarly debate for more than a century...

 also plays a significant role in the racial gap in life expectancy. A report from the U.S. Department of Justice states "In 2005, homicide victimization rates for blacks were 6 times higher than the rates for whites" and "94% of black victims were killed by blacks."

While the pregnancy rate for black teens in the U.S. fell by 45% between 1990 and 2005 -- the current black teen pregnancy rate is still 280% higher than it is for white teens in the U.S.

Cultural influence in the United States




From their earliest presence in North America, African Americans have contributed literature, art, agricultural skills, foods, clothing styles, music, language, social and technological innovation to American culture.
The cultivation and use of many agricultural products in the U.S., such as yams
Sweet potato
The sweet potato is a dicotyledonous plant that belongs to the family Convolvulaceae. Its large, starchy, sweet-tasting, tuberous roots are an important root vegetable. The young leaves and shoots are sometimes eaten as greens. Of the approximately 50 genera and more than 1,000 species of...

, peanut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

s, rice
Rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

, okra
Okra
Okra is a flowering plant in the mallow family. It is valued for its edible green seed pods. The geographical origin of okra is disputed, with supporters of South Asian, Ethiopian and West African origins...

, sorghum
Sorghum
Sorghum is a genus of numerous species of grasses, one of which is raised for grain and many of which are used as fodder plants either cultivated or as part of pasture. The plants are cultivated in warmer climates worldwide. Species are native to tropical and subtropical regions of all continents...

, grits
Grits
Grits are a food of American Indian origin common in the Southern United States and mainly eaten at breakfast. They consist of coarsely ground corn, or sometimes alkali-treated corn . They are also sometimes called sofkee or sofkey from the Muskogee language word...

, watermelon
Watermelon
Watermelon is a vine-like flowering plant originally from southern Africa. Its fruit, which is also called watermelon, is a special kind referred to by botanists as a pepo, a berry which has a thick rind and fleshy center...

, indigo dye
Indigo dye
Indigo dye is an organic compound with a distinctive blue color . Historically, indigo was a natural dye extracted from plants, and this process was important economically because blue dyes were once rare. Nearly all indigo dye produced today — several thousand tons each year — is synthetic...

s, and cotton
Cotton
Cotton is a soft, fluffy staple fiber that grows in a boll, or protective capsule, around the seeds of cotton plants of the genus Gossypium. The fiber is almost pure cellulose. The botanical purpose of cotton fiber is to aid in seed dispersal....

, can be traced to African and African American influences. Notable examples include George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver
George Washington Carver , was an American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor. The exact day and year of his birth are unknown; he is believed to have been born into slavery in Missouri in January 1864....

, who created 300 products from peanuts, 118 products from sweet potatoes, and 75 from pecans; and George Crum
George Crum
George "Speck" Crum , son of "a mulatto jockey and an Indian maid", according to a menu used at Moon's Lake House, was the cook at Moon's Lake House, a resort at the south end of the lake in Saratoga Springs, New York, USA...

, who invented the potato chip in 1853.

African American music
African American music
African-American music is an umbrella term given to a range of musics and musical genres emerging from or influenced by the culture of African Americans, who have long constituted a large and significant ethnic minority of the population of the United States...

 is one of the most pervasive African American cultural influences in the United States today and is among the most dominant in mainstream popular music. Hip hop
Hip hop music
Hip hop music, also called hip-hop, rap music or hip-hop music, is a musical genre consisting of a stylized rhythmic music that commonly accompanies rapping, a rhythmic and rhyming speech that is chanted...

, R&B
Rhythm and blues
Rhythm and blues, often abbreviated to R&B, is a genre of popular African American music that originated in the 1940s. The term was originally used by record companies to describe recordings marketed predominantly to urban African Americans, at a time when "urbane, rocking, jazz based music with a...

, funk
Funk
Funk is a music genre that originated in the mid-late 1960s when African American musicians blended soul music, jazz and R&B into a rhythmic, danceable new form of music. Funk de-emphasizes melody and harmony and brings a strong rhythmic groove of electric bass and drums to the foreground...

, rock and roll, soul
Soul music
Soul music is a music genre originating in the United States combining elements of gospel music and rhythm and blues. According to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, soul is "music that arose out of the black experience in America through the transmutation of gospel and rhythm & blues into a form of...

, blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

, and other contemporary American musical forms originated in black communities and evolved from other black forms of music, including blues
Blues
Blues is the name given to both a musical form and a music genre that originated in African-American communities of primarily the "Deep South" of the United States at the end of the 19th century from spirituals, work songs, field hollers, shouts and chants, and rhymed simple narrative ballads...

, doo-wop
Doo-wop
The name Doo-wop is given to a style of vocal-based rhythm and blues music that developed in African American communities in the 1940s and achieved mainstream popularity in the 1950s and early 1960s. It emerged from New York, Philadelphia, Chicago, Baltimore, Newark, Pittsburgh, Cincinnati and...

, barbershop
Barbershop music
Barbershop vocal harmony, as codified during the barbershop revival era , is a style of a cappella, or unaccompanied vocal music characterized by consonant four-part chords for every melody note in a predominantly homophonic texture...

, ragtime
Ragtime
Ragtime is an original musical genre which enjoyed its peak popularity between 1897 and 1918. Its main characteristic trait is its syncopated, or "ragged," rhythm. It began as dance music in the red-light districts of American cities such as St. Louis and New Orleans years before being published...

, bluegrass
Bluegrass music
Bluegrass music is a form of American roots music, and a sub-genre of country music. It has mixed roots in Scottish, English, Welsh and Irish traditional music...

, jazz
Jazz
Jazz is a musical style that originated at the beginning of the 20th century in African American communities in the Southern United States. It was born out of a mix of African and European music traditions. From its early development until the present, jazz has incorporated music from 19th and 20th...

, and gospel music
Gospel music
Gospel music is music that is written to express either personal, spiritual or a communal belief regarding Christian life, as well as to give a Christian alternative to mainstream secular music....

.

African American-derived musical forms have also influenced and been incorporated into virtually every other popular musical genre in the world, including country
Country music
Country music is a popular American musical style that began in the rural Southern United States in the 1920s. It takes its roots from Western cowboy and folk music...

 and techno
Techno
Techno is a form of electronic dance music that emerged in Detroit, Michigan in the United States during the mid to late 1980s. The first recorded use of the word techno, in reference to a genre of music, was in 1988...

. African American genres are the most important ethnic vernacular tradition in America, as they have developed independent of African traditions from which they arise more so than any other immigrant groups, including Europeans; make up the broadest and longest lasting range of styles in America; and have, historically, been more influential, interculturally, geographically, and economically, than other American vernacular traditions.

African Americans have also had an important role in American dance. Bill T. Jones
Bill T. Jones
Bill T. Jones is an American artistic director, choreographer and dancer.-Early life:Jones was born in Bunnell, Florida and his family moved North as part of the Great Migration in the first half of the twentieth century. They settled in Wayland, New York, where Jones attended Wayland High School...

, a prominent modern choreographer and dancer, has included historical African American themes in his work, particularly in the piece "Last Supper at Uncle Tom's Cabin/The Promised Land". Likewise, Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey
Alvin Ailey, Jr. was an American choreographer and activist who founded the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater in New York. Ailey is credited with popularizing modern dance and revolutionizing African-American participation in 20th century concert dance...

's artistic work, including his "Revelations" based on his experience growing up as an African American in the South during the 1930s, has had a significant influence on modern dance. Another form of dance, Stepping
Stepping (African-American)
Stepping or step-dancing is a form of percussive dance in which the participant's entire body is used as an instrument to produce complex rhythms and sounds through a mixture of footsteps, spoken word, and hand claps...

, is an African American tradition whose performance and competition has been formalized through the traditionally black fraternities and sororities at universities.

Many African American authors have written stories, poems, and essays influenced by their experiences as African Americans. African-American literature is a major genre in American literature
Literature
Literature is the art of written works, and is not bound to published sources...

. Famous examples include Langston Hughes
Langston Hughes
James Mercer Langston Hughes was an American poet, social activist, novelist, playwright, and columnist. He was one of the earliest innovators of the then-new literary art form jazz poetry. Hughes is best known for his work during the Harlem Renaissance...

, James Baldwin
James Baldwin (writer)
James Arthur Baldwin was an American novelist, essayist, playwright, poet, and social critic.Baldwin's essays, for instance "Notes of a Native Son" , explore palpable yet unspoken intricacies of racial, sexual, and class distinctions in Western societies, most notably in mid-20th century America,...

, Richard Wright
Richard Wright (author)
Richard Nathaniel Wright was an African-American author of sometimes controversial novels, short stories, poems, and non-fiction. Much of his literature concerns racial themes, especially those involving the plight of African-Americans during the late 19th to mid 20th centuries...

, Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston
Zora Neale Hurston was an American folklorist, anthropologist, and author during the time of the Harlem Renaissance...

, Ralph Ellison
Ralph Ellison
Ralph Waldo Ellison was an American novelist, literary critic, scholar and writer. He was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. Ellison is best known for his novel Invisible Man, which won the National Book Award in 1953...

, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison
Toni Morrison is a Nobel Prize and Pulitzer Prize-winning American novelist, editor, and professor. Her novels are known for their epic themes, vivid dialogue, and richly detailed characters. Among her best known novels are The Bluest Eye, Song of Solomon and Beloved...

, and Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou
Maya Angelou is an American author and poet who has been called "America's most visible black female autobiographer" by scholar Joanne M. Braxton. She is best known for her series of six autobiographical volumes, which focus on her childhood and early adult experiences. The first and most highly...

.

African American inventors have created many widely used devices in the world and have contributed to international innovation
Innovation
Innovation is the creation of better or more effective products, processes, technologies, or ideas that are accepted by markets, governments, and society...

. Norbert Rillieux
Norbert Rillieux
Norbert Rillieux , an American inventor and engineer, is most noted for his invention of the multiple-effect evaporator, an energy-efficient means of evaporating water. This invention was an important development in the growth of the sugar industry...

 created the technique for converting sugar cane juice into white sugar crystals. Moreover, Rillieux left Louisiana
Louisiana
Louisiana is a state located in the southern region of the United States of America. Its capital is Baton Rouge and largest city is New Orleans. Louisiana is the only state in the U.S. with political subdivisions termed parishes, which are local governments equivalent to counties...

 in 1854 and went to France, where he spent ten years working with the Champollions deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphics
Egyptian hieroglyphs
Egyptian hieroglyphs were a formal writing system used by the ancient Egyptians that combined logographic and alphabetic elements. Egyptians used cursive hieroglyphs for religious literature on papyrus and wood...

 from the Rosetta Stone
Rosetta Stone
The Rosetta Stone is an ancient Egyptian granodiorite stele inscribed with a decree issued at Memphis in 196 BC on behalf of King Ptolemy V. The decree appears in three scripts: the upper text is Ancient Egyptian hieroglyphs, the middle portion Demotic script, and the lowest Ancient Greek...

. Most slave inventors were nameless, such as the slave owned by the Confederate
Confederate States of America
The Confederate States of America was a government set up from 1861 to 1865 by 11 Southern slave states of the United States of America that had declared their secession from the U.S...

 President Jefferson Davis who designed the ship propeller used by the Confederate navy.
By 1913 over 1,000 inventions were patented by black Americans. Among the most notable inventors were Jan Matzeliger, who developed the first machine to mass-produce shoes, and Elijah McCoy
Elijah McCoy
Elijah J. McCoy was a Canadian-American inventor and engineer, who was notable for his 57 U.S. patents, most to do with lubrication of steam engines. His family returned to the United States in 1847, where he lived for the rest of his life and became a US citizen.- Early life and education:Elijah J...

, who invented automatic lubrication devices for steam engines. Granville Woods
Granville Woods
Granville T. Woods , was an African-American inventor who held more than 60 patents. Most of his work was on trains and street cars. Woods also invented the Multiplex Telegraph, a device that sent messages between train stations and moving trains. Born in Columbus, Ohio, on April 23, 1856,...

 had 35 patents to improve electric railway systems, including the first system to allow moving trains to communicate. Garrett A. Morgan
Garrett A. Morgan
Garrett Augustus Morgan, Sr. was an inventor who invented a type of respiratory protective hood , credited with having a patent for a type of traffic signal, and invented a hair-straightening preparation...

 developed the first automatic traffic signal and gas mask.

Lewis Howard Latimer invented an improvement for the incandescent light bulb. More recent inventors include Frederick McKinley Jones, who invented the movable refrigeration unit for food transport in trucks and trains. Lloyd Quarterman worked with six other black scientists on the creation of the atomic bomb (code named the Manhattan Project
Manhattan Project
The Manhattan Project was a research and development program, led by the United States with participation from the United Kingdom and Canada, that produced the first atomic bomb during World War II. From 1942 to 1946, the project was under the direction of Major General Leslie Groves of the US Army...

.) Quarterman also helped develop the first nuclear reactor, which was used in the atomically powered submarine
Submarine
A submarine is a watercraft capable of independent operation below the surface of the water. It differs from a submersible, which has more limited underwater capability...

 called the Nautilus.

A few other notable examples include the first successful open heart surgery
Cardiac surgery
Cardiovascular surgery is surgery on the heart or great vessels performed by cardiac surgeons. Frequently, it is done to treat complications of ischemic heart disease , correct congenital heart disease, or treat valvular heart disease from various causes including endocarditis, rheumatic heart...

, performed by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams
Daniel Hale Williams
Daniel Hale Williams was an American surgeon. He was the first African-American cardiologist,and performed one of the first successful open-heart surgeries in the United States. He also founded Provident Hospital, the first non-segregated hospital in the United States.-Career:Williams was among...

, and the air conditioner, patented by Frederick McKinley Jones. Dr. Mark Dean holds three of the original nine patents on the computer on which all PCs are based. More current contributors include Otis Boykin
Otis Boykin
Otis Frank Boykin was an African-American inventor and engineer. Otis Frank Boykin was born in 1920 in Dallas, Texas. His mother was a homemaker and his father was a carpenter. He worked as a laboratory assistant at the nearby University's aerospace laboratory...

, whose inventions included several novel methods for manufacturing electrical components that found use in applications such as guided missile systems and computers, and Colonel Frederick Gregory
Frederick D. Gregory
Frederick Drew Gregory is a former NASA astronaut and former NASA Deputy Administrator. He also served briefly as NASA Acting Administrator in early 2005, covering the period between the departure of Sean O'Keefe and the swearing in of Michael Griffin.-Personal data:Gregory was born on January 7,...

, who was not only the first black astronaut
Astronaut
An astronaut or cosmonaut is a person trained by a human spaceflight program to command, pilot, or serve as a crew member of a spacecraft....

 pilot but the person who redesigned the cockpits for the last three space shuttles. Gregory was also on the team that pioneered the microwave instrumentation landing system.

Political legacy



African Americans have fought
Military history of African Americans
The military history of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first black slaves during the colonial history of the United States to the present day...

 in every war in the history of the United States
Military history of the United States
The military history of the United States spans a period of over two centuries. During the course of those years, the United States evolved from a new nation fighting the British Empire for independence without a professional military , through a monumental American Civil War to the world's sole...

.

The gains made by African Americans in the Civil Rights and Black Power movements not only obtained certain rights for African Americans, but changed American society in far-reaching and fundamentally important ways. Prior to the 1950s, Black Americans in the South were subject to de jure discrimination, or Jim Crow
Jim Crow laws
The Jim Crow laws were state and local laws in the United States enacted between 1876 and 1965. They mandated de jure racial segregation in all public facilities, with a supposedly "separate but equal" status for black Americans...

. They would often be the victims of extreme cruelty and violence, sometimes resulting in deaths: by the post WWII era, African Americans became increasingly discontented with their long-standing inequality. In the words of Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr.
Martin Luther King, Jr. was an American clergyman, activist, and prominent leader in the African-American Civil Rights Movement. He is best known for being an iconic figure in the advancement of civil rights in the United States and around the world, using nonviolent methods following the...

, African Americans and their supporters challenged the nation to "rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed that all men are created equal ..."

The Civil Rights Movement
Civil rights movement
The civil rights movement was a worldwide political movement for equality before the law occurring between approximately 1950 and 1980. In many situations it took the form of campaigns of civil resistance aimed at achieving change by nonviolent forms of resistance. In some situations it was...

 marked a sea-change in American social, political, economic and civic life. It brought with it boycott
Boycott
A boycott is an act of voluntarily abstaining from using, buying, or dealing with a person, organization, or country as an expression of protest, usually for political reasons...

s, sit-in
Sit-in
A sit-in or sit-down is a form of protest that involves occupying seats or sitting down on the floor of an establishment.-Process:In a sit-in, protesters remain until they are evicted, usually by force, or arrested, or until their requests have been met...

s, demonstrations, court battles, bombings and other violence; prompted worldwide media coverage and intense public debate; forged enduring civic, economic and religious alliances; and disrupted and realigned the nation's two major political parties
Political party
A political party is a political organization that typically seeks to influence government policy, usually by nominating their own candidates and trying to seat them in political office. Parties participate in electoral campaigns, educational outreach or protest actions...

.

Over time, it has changed in fundamental ways the manner in which blacks and whites interact with and relate to one another. The movement resulted in the removal of codified, de jure racial segregation and discrimination from American life and law, and heavily influenced other groups and movements in struggles for civil rights and social equality within American society, including the Free Speech Movement
Free Speech Movement
The Free Speech Movement was a student protest which took place during the 1964–1965 academic year on the campus of the University of California, Berkeley under the informal leadership of students Mario Savio, Brian Turner, Bettina Aptheker, Steve Weissman, Art Goldberg, Jackie Goldberg, and...

, the disabled, women, Native Americans, and migrant workers.

Political overtones



The term African American carries important political overtones. Earlier terms used to identify Americans of African ancestry were conferred upon the group by colonists and Americans of European ancestry. The terms were included in the wording of various laws and legal decisions which some thought were being used as tools of white supremacy and oppression
Oppression
Oppression is the exercise of authority or power in a burdensome, cruel, or unjust manner. It can also be defined as an act or instance of oppressing, the state of being oppressed, and the feeling of being heavily burdened, mentally or physically, by troubles, adverse conditions, and...

. There developed among blacks in America a growing desire for a term of self-identification of their own choosing.

With the political consciousness that emerged from the political and social ferment of the late 1960s and early 1970s, blacks no longer approved of the term Negro. They believed it had suggestions of a moderate, accommodationist, even "Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom
Uncle Tom is a derogatory term for a person who perceives themselves to be of low status, and is excessively subservient to perceived authority figures; particularly a black person who behaves in a subservient manner to white people....

" connotation. In this period, a growing number of blacks in the United States, particularly African American youth, celebrated their blackness and their historical and cultural ties with the African continent. The Black Power movement defiantly embraced Black as a group identifier. It was a term social leaders themselves had repudiated only two decades earlier, but they proclaimed, "Black is beautiful
Black is beautiful
Black is beautiful is a cultural movement that began in the United States of America in the 1960s by African Americans. It later spread to much of the black world, most prominently in the writings of the Black Consciousness Movement of Steve Biko in South Africa...

".

In this same period, a smaller number of people favored Afro-American, a common shortening (as is 'Anglo-American'). However, after the decline in popularity of the 'Afro' hairstyle in the late 1970s, the term fell out of use.

In the 1980s the term African American was advanced on the model of, for example, German-American or Irish-American to give descendents of American slaves and other American blacks who lived through the slavery-era a heritage
Cultural heritage
Cultural heritage is the legacy of physical artifacts and intangible attributes of a group or society that are inherited from past generations, maintained in the present and bestowed for the benefit of future generations...

 and a cultural base. The term was popularized in black communities around the country via word of mouth and ultimately received mainstream use after Jesse Jackson
Jesse Jackson
Jesse Louis Jackson, Sr. is an African-American civil rights activist and Baptist minister. He was a candidate for the Democratic presidential nomination in 1984 and 1988 and served as shadow senator for the District of Columbia from 1991 to 1997. He was the founder of both entities that merged to...

 publicly used the term in front of a national audience. Subsequently, major media outlets adopted its use.

Many blacks in America expressed a preference for the term, as it was formed in the same way as names for others of the many ethnic groups in the nation. Some argued further that, because of the historical circumstances surrounding the capture, enslavement and systematic attempts to de-Africanize blacks in the United States under chattel slavery
Slavery
Slavery is a system under which people are treated as property to be bought and sold, and are forced to work. Slaves can be held against their will from the time of their capture, purchase or birth, and deprived of the right to leave, to refuse to work, or to demand compensation...

, most African Americans are unable to trace their ancestry to a specific African nation; hence, the entire continent serves as a geographic marker.

For many, African American is more than a name expressive of cultural
Culture
Culture is a term that has many different inter-related meanings. For example, in 1952, Alfred Kroeber and Clyde Kluckhohn compiled a list of 164 definitions of "culture" in Culture: A Critical Review of Concepts and Definitions...

 and historical
History
History is the discovery, collection, organization, and presentation of information about past events. History can also mean the period of time after writing was invented. Scholars who write about history are called historians...

 roots. The term expresses pride in Africa and a sense of kinship and solidarity with others of the African diaspora
African diaspora
The African diaspora was the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world—predominantly to the Americas also to Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe...

—an embrace of pan-Africanism as earlier enunciated by prominent African thinkers such as Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey
Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Jr., ONH was a Jamaican publisher, journalist, entrepreneur, and orator who was a staunch proponent of the Black Nationalism and Pan-Africanism movements, to which end he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association and African Communities League...

, W. E. B. Du Bois and George Padmore
George Padmore
George Padmore , born Malcolm Ivan Meredith Nurse, was a Trinidadian communist who became a leading Pan-Africanist in his later years.-Early years:...

.

Who is African American?



Since 1977, in an attempt to keep up with changing social opinion, the United States government officially classified black people (revised to black or African American in 1997) as "having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa." Other federal offices, such as the United States Census
United States Census
The United States Census is a decennial census mandated by the United States Constitution. The population is enumerated every 10 years and the results are used to allocate Congressional seats , electoral votes, and government program funding. The United States Census Bureau The United States Census...

 Bureau, adhere to the OMB standards on race in its data collection and tabulations efforts. In preparation for the United States 2010 Census, a marketing and outreach plan, called 2010 Census Integrated Communications Campaign Plan (ICC) recognized and defined African Americans as black people born in the United States. From the ICC perspective, African Americans are one of three groups of black people in the United States

The ICC plan was to reach the three groups by acknowledging that each group has its own sense of community that is based on geography and ethnicity. The best way to market the census process toward any of the three groups is to reach them through their own unique communication channels and not treat the entire black population of the U.S. as though they are all African Americans with a single ethnic and geographical background. The U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation categorizes black or African American people as "A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa" through racial categories used in the UCR Program adopted from the Statistical Policy Handbook (1978) and published by the Office of Federal Statistical Policy and Standards, U.S. Department of Commerce, derived from the 1977 OMB classification.

The African-American experience


Some black scholars have argued that the term "African-American" should refer strictly to the descendents of West or Central African slaves and free people of color who survived the slavery-era, and not the sons and daughters of black immigrants who lack that ancestry. The argument being that grouping all blacks together regardless of their unique ancestral circumstances would inevitably deny the lingering effects of slavery with in the American slave descendent community, in addition to denying black immigrants recognition of their own unique ancestral backgrounds.

In the book The End of Blackness published by author Debra Dickerson
Debra Dickerson
Debra J. Dickerson is an American author, editor, writer, and current contributing writer and blogger for Mother Jones magazine. Dickerson has been most prolific as an essayist, writing frequently on race relations and racial identity in the United States.-Early life:She dropped out of Florissant...

, she warned against drawing favorable cultural implications from upwardly mobile black immigrants who are not the sons and daughters of American slavery and racial segregation. She used the political rise of President Barack Obama, who is the son of a Kenyan immigrant, a result of "Lumping us all together," Dickerson claimed it, "erases the significance of slavery and continuing racism while giving the appearance of progress." On the liberal website Salon
Salon.com
Salon.com, part of Salon Media Group , often just called Salon, is an online liberal magazine, with content updated each weekday. Salon was founded by David Talbot and launched on November 20, 1995. It was the internet's first online-only commercial publication. The magazine focuses on U.S...

 Dickerson wrote, "African-American", in our political and social vocabulary, means those descended from West African slaves".
Similar statements have been echoed by Stanley Crouch
Stanley Crouch
Stanley Crouch is an American music and cultural critic, syndicated columnist, and novelist, perhaps best known for his jazz criticism, and his novel Don't the Moon Look Lonesome?- Biography :...

 in a New York Daily News piece, Charles Kenzie Steele, Jr.
Charles Kenzie Steele, Jr.
Charles Steele, Jr. is an American businessman, politician and civil rights leader. He was the first African American elected to the City Council of Tuscaloosa and one of the first African Americans elected to the Alabama State Senate...

 of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference
Southern Christian Leadership Conference
The Southern Christian Leadership Conference is an African-American civil rights organization. SCLC was closely associated with its first president, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr...

 and African-American columnist David Ehrenstein
David Ehrenstein
David Ehrenstein is an American critic who focuses primarily on issues of homosexuality in cinema.-Life and career:Ehrenstein was born in New York City. His father was a secular Jew with Polish ancestors, and his mother was of African American and Irish descent. His mother raised him in her...

 of the LA Times
Los Angeles Times
The Los Angeles Times is a daily newspaper published in Los Angeles, California, since 1881. It was the second-largest metropolitan newspaper in circulation in the United States in 2008 and the fourth most widely distributed newspaper in the country....

 who accused white liberals of flocking to blacks who were "Magic Negros", a term that refers to a black person with no past who simply appears to assist the mainstream white (as cultural protagonists/drivers) agenda. Ehrenstein went on to say "He's there to assuage white 'guilt' they feel over the role of slavery and racial segregation in American history."

Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice
Condoleezza Rice is an American political scientist and diplomat. She served as the 66th United States Secretary of State, and was the second person to hold that office in the administration of President George W. Bush...

 (who was famously mistaken for a "recent American immigrant" by French President Nicholas Sarkozy), said "descendants of slaves did not get much of a head start, and I think you continue to see some of the effects of that." She has also rejected an immigrant designation for African-Americans and instead prefers the term "black" or "white" to denote the African and European U.S. founding populations.

Terms no longer in common use


The terms mulatto
Mulatto
Mulatto denotes a person with one white parent and one black parent, or more broadly, a person of mixed black and white ancestry. Contemporary usage of the term varies greatly, and the broader sense of the term makes its application rather subjective, as not all people of mixed white and black...

 and colored
Colored
Colored is a term once widely used in the United States to describe black people and Native Americans...

 were widely used until the second quarter of the 20th century, when they were considered outmoded and generally gave way to the use of negro. By the 1940s, the term commonly was capitalized, but by the mid 1960s, it had acquired negative connotations. Today, in the culture of the United States, the term is considered inappropriate and is now rarely used and perceived as a pejorative.

The term Negro
Negro
The word Negro is used in the English-speaking world to refer to a person of black ancestry or appearance, whether of African descent or not...

 is largely out of use among the younger black generation, but is still used by a substantial block of older black Americans, particularly in the southern U.S. In Latin America, negro, which translates as black is the term generally used to refer and describe black people and, similarly to mulatto, it is not considered offensive at all in these regions. However, it is pronounced differently, with the e (a mid front unrounded vowel
Mid front unrounded vowel
Mid front unrounded vowel might refer to:*The exact mid front unrounded vowel , between and *The close-mid front unrounded vowel *The open-mid front unrounded vowel...

 in American Spanish ˈne̞ɣɾo̞ and a close-mid front unrounded vowel
Close-mid front unrounded vowel
The close-mid front unrounded vowel, or high-mid front unrounded vowel, is a type of vowel sound, used in some spoken languages. The symbol in the International Phonetic Alphabet that represents this sound is ....

 in Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese
Brazilian Portuguese is a group of Portuguese dialects written and spoken by most of the 190 million inhabitants of Brazil and by a few million Brazilian emigrants, mainly in the United States, United Kingdom, Portugal, Canada, Japan and Paraguay....

 ˈnegɾu) being closer to a sound that it is intermediate between phonemes found in English words such as pay and egg (in Spanish) or day, city and item (in Portuguese).

See also



  • Affirmative action
    Affirmative action
    Affirmative action refers to policies that take factors including "race, color, religion, gender, sexual orientation or national origin" into consideration in order to benefit an underrepresented group, usually as a means to counter the effects of a history of discrimination.-Origins:The term...

  • African-American art
  • African-American history
  • African-American literature
  • African-American music
  • African American Muslims
  • African American National Biography Project
    African American National Biography Project
    The African American National Biography Project is a joint project of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research and Oxford University Press. Editors are Henry Louis Gates, Jr., and Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham. The object of the project is to publish and maintain a...

  • African American Vernacular English
    African American Vernacular English
    African American Vernacular English —also called African American English; less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular , or Black Vernacular English —is an African American variety of American English...

  • African American Women, 1960's
    African American Women, 1960's
    African Americans in the United States faced discrimination, segregation, and stereotyping, especially in the Southern and Midwestern United states for decades after the American Civil War. “In the 1960s, Americans who knew only the potential of "equal protection of the laws" was thought to be the...

  • American Black Upper Class
    American Black Upper Class
    The American Black Upper Class consists of African American professionals in fields such as law, medicine, business and entertainment that have incomes that amount to $100,000 or more...

  • American Civil War
    American Civil War
    The American Civil War was a civil war fought in the United States of America. In response to the election of Abraham Lincoln as President of the United States, 11 southern slave states declared their secession from the United States and formed the Confederate States of America ; the other 25...

  • Black church
  • Black feminism
    Black feminism
    Black feminism argues that sexism, class oppression, and racism are inextricably bound together. Forms of feminism that strive to overcome sexism and class oppression. The Combahee River Collective argued in 1974 that the liberation of black women entails freedom for all people, since it would...

  • Black Loyalist
    Black Loyalist
    A Black Loyalist was an inhabitant of British America of African descent who joined British colonial forces during the American Revolutionary War...

  • Black nationalism
    Black nationalism
    Black nationalism advocates a racial definition of indigenous national identity, as opposed to multiculturalism. There are different indigenous nationalist philosophies but the principles of all African nationalist ideologies are unity, and self-determination or independence from European society...

  • Military history of African Americans
    Military history of African Americans
    The military history of African Americans spans from the arrival of the first black slaves during the colonial history of the United States to the present day...

  • Slavery in the United States

Diaspora:
  • African Americans in France
    African Americans in France
    African Americans in France are a subgroup of the larger American population in France, it may include people of African American heritage or black people from the United States who are or have become residents or citizens of France as well as students and temporary workers...

  • African diaspora
    African diaspora
    The African diaspora was the movement of Africans and their descendants to places throughout the world—predominantly to the Americas also to Europe, the Middle East and other places around the globe...

  • African immigrants to the United States
  • Afro-Latin American
    Afro-Latin American
    An Afro-Latin American is a Latin American person of at least partial Black African ancestry; the term may also refer to historical or cultural elements in Latin America thought to emanate from this community...

  • American Black Indians
  • Americans of Igbo ancestry
    Americans of Igbo ancestry
    Igbo Americans, or Americans of Igbo ancestry, are citizens of the United States who can claim whole or significant ancestry from the Igbo people of southeastern Nigeria. The majority of US citizens with Igbo ancestry are descended from Igbo slaves that were forcefully shipped to the Americas for...

  • Americo-Liberian
    Americo-Liberian
    Americo-Liberians are a Liberian ethnicity of African American descent. The sister ethnic group of Americo Liberians are the Sierra Leone Creole people who are of African American, West Indian, and liberated African descent...

  • Black Hispanic and Latino Americans
  • Black Nova Scotians
    Black Nova Scotians
    Black Nova Scotians are people of Black African descent whose ancestors fled Colonial America as slaves or freemen to settle in Nova Scotia, Canada during the 18th and 19th centuries. According to the 2006 Census of Canada, there are 19,230 black people currently living in Nova Scotia, most of whom...

  • Black people
    Black people
    The term black people is used in systems of racial classification for humans of a dark skinned phenotype, relative to other racial groups.Different societies apply different criteria regarding who is classified as "black", and often social variables such as class, socio-economic status also plays a...

  • Foreign-born Afro Americans
  • Sierra Leone Creole people
    Sierra Leone Creole people
    The Sierra Leone Creoles, or Krios, are an ethnic group in Sierra Leone, descendants of West Indian slaves from the Caribbean, primarily from Jamaica; freed African American slaves from the Thirteen Colonies resettled from Nova Scotia; and Liberated Africans from various parts of Africa...


Lists:
  • Lists of African Americans
  • List of African-American-related topics
  • List of topics related to Black and African people
  • Terminology: Colored
    Colored
    Colored is a term once widely used in the United States to describe black people and Native Americans...

    , Creole peoples
    Creole peoples
    The term Creole and its cognates in other languages — such as crioulo, criollo, créole, kriolu, criol, kreyol, kreol, kriulo, kriol, krio, etc. — have been applied to people in different countries and epochs, with rather different meanings...

    , Negro
    Negro
    The word Negro is used in the English-speaking world to refer to a person of black ancestry or appearance, whether of African descent or not...

    , Nigger
    Nigger
    Nigger is a noun in the English language, most notable for its usage in a pejorative context to refer to black people , and also as an informal slang term, among other contexts. It is a common ethnic slur...

    , Nigga
    Nigga
    Nigga is a term used in African American Vernacular English that began as an eye dialect form of the word nigger .- Use in language :In practice, its use and meaning are...


Further reading

  • Jack Salzman, ed., Encyclopedia of Afro-American culture and history, New York, New York : Macmillan Library Reference USA, 1996.
  • African American Lives, edited by Henry L. Gates, Evelyn Brooks Higginbotham, Oxford University Press, 2004—more than 600 biographies.
  • From Slavery to Freedom. A History of African Americans, by John Hope Franklin
    John Hope Franklin
    John Hope Franklin was a United States historian and past president of Phi Beta Kappa, the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Southern Historical Association. Franklin is best known for his work From Slavery to Freedom, first published in 1947, and...

    , Alfred Moss, McGraw-Hill Education 2001, standard work, first edition in 1947.
  • Black Women in America: An Historical Encyclopedia, Darlene Clark Hine (Editor), Rosalyn Terborg-Penn (Editor), Elsa Barkley Brown (Editor), Paperback Edition, Indiana University Press 2005.

External links