- African American
African Americans or Black Americans are citizens or residents of the
United Stateswho have origins in any of the black populations of Africa.cite web |url=http://www.census.gov/prod/2001pubs/c2kbr01-5.pdf |first=Jesse |last=McKinnon |publisher= United States Census Bureau|accessdate=2007-10-22 |format=PDF |title=The Black Population: 2000 United States Census Bureau ] In the United States, the term is generally used for Americans with at least partial Sub-Saharan African ancestry. Most African Americans are the descendants of captive Africans who survived the slavery era within the boundaries of the present United States, although some are — or are descended from — voluntary immigrants from Africa, the Caribbean, Central America, South America, or elsewhere. [cite web |url=http://mumford1.dyndns.org/cen2000/BlackWhite/BlackDiversityReport/black-diversity03.htm |title=The size and regional distribution of the black population |accessdate=2007-10-01 |publisher=Lewis Mumford Center] African Americans make up the single largest racial minority in the United States, [http://factfinder.census.gov/servlet/QTTable?_bm=y&-geo_id=01000US&-qr_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U_QTP4&-ds_name=DEC_2000_SF1_U&-redoLog=false United States - QT-P4. Race, Combinations of Two Races, and Not Hispanic or Latino: 2000 ] ] though Hispanics compose the largest ethnic minority. [cite news
title=39 million make Hispanics largest U.S. minority group
The first recorded Africans in
British North America(the future United States) arrived in 1619 as indentured servants who settled in Jamestown, Virginia. They for many years were similar in legal position to poor English indenturees, who traded several years labor in exchange for passage to America. [cite news |first=Tim |last=Hashaw |authorlink= |coauthors= |title=The First Black Americans |url=http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070121/29african.htm |work= |publisher= U.S. News|date=2007-01-21 |accessdate=2008-02-13 ] Africans could legally raise crops and cattle to purchase their freedom. [ [http://www.encyclopedia.com/doc/1G1-147667728.html?Q=Jamestown The shaping of Black America: forthcoming 400th celebration ] ] They raised families, marrying other Africans and sometimes intermarrying with Native Americans or English settlers. [ [http://www.usnews.com/usnews/news/articles/070121/29african.htm The First Black Americans - US News and World Report ] ] 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 1700s. During the 1770s Africans, both enslaved and free, helped rebellious English colonists secure American Independence by defeating the British in the American Revolution. [ [http://www.wsu.edu:8080/~dee/DIASPORA/REV.HTM African-Americans in the American Revolution ] ] Africans and Englishmen fought side by side and were fully intergrated. [http://www.africanamericans.com/MilitaryTimeline.htm] James Armistead, an African American, played a large part in making possible the 1781 York town victory that established the United States as an independent nation. [http://www.time.com/time/2007/blackhistmth/bios/01.html] Other prominent African Americans were Prince Whippleand Oliver Cromwell, who are both depicted in the front of the boat in George Washingtons famous 1776 Crossing the Delaware portrait. By 1860, there were 3.5 million enslaved Africans in the United States due to the Atlantic slave trade, and another 500,000 Africans lived free across the country. [cite web |url=http://africanhistory.about.com/library/weekly/aa080601a.htm |last=Boddy-Evans |first=Alistair |title=The Trans-Atlantic Slave Trade |work=African History |publisher=about.com |accessdate=2007-06-04] In 1863, during the American Civil War, President Abraham Lincolnsigned the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation declared all slaves in states that had seceded from the Union were free. [cite web |title=The Emancipation Proclamation |work=Featured Documents |publisher= National Archives and Records Administration|accessdate=2007-06-07 |url=http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/emancipation_proclamation/] Advancing Union troops enforced the proclamation with Texas being the last state to be emancipated in 1865. [cite web |url=http://www.juneteenth.com/history.htm |title=History of Juneteenth |publisher=Juneteenth.com |year=2005 |accessdate=2007-06-07] While the post-war reconstruction era was initially a time of progress for African Americans, in the late 1890s, Southern states enacted Jim Crow lawsto enforce racial segregationand disenfranchisement. [cite web |title=Creating Jim Crow: In-Depth Essay |last=Davis |first=Ronald L.F., Ph. D. |work=The History of Jim Crow |publisher= New York Life|accessdate=2007-06-07 |url=http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/history/creating2.htm] Most African Americans followed the Jim Crow laws and assumed a posture of humilityand servility to prevent becoming victims of racially motivated violence. To maintain self-esteem and dignity, middle-classAfrican Americans created their own schools, churches, banks, social clubs, and other businesses. [cite web |url=http://www.jimcrowhistory.org/history/surviving.htm |title=Surviving Jim Crow |last=Davis |first=Ronald, Ph. D |work=The History of Jim Crow |publisher= New York Life]
In the last decade of the nineteenth century, racially discriminatory laws and racial violence aimed at African Americans began to mushroom in the United States. These discriminatory acts included
racial segregation– upheld by the United States Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Fergusonin 1896 [Findlaw us|163|537|Plessy v. Ferguson |link=Plessy v. Ferguson |year=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. The desperate conditions of African Americans in the South that sparked the Great Migration of the early 20th century, [cite web |url=http://www.pbs.org/wnet/aaworld/reference/articles/great_migration.html |title=The Great Migration |accessdate=2007-10-22 |work=African American World |publisher= PBS|year=2002] combined with a growing African-American intellectual and cultural elite in the Northern United States, led to a movement to fight violenceand discriminationagainst African Americans that, like abolitionismbefore it, crossed racial lines. The Civil Rights Movementaimed at abolishing public and private acts of racial discriminationagainst African Americans between 1954 to 1968, particularly in the southern United States. By 1966, the emergence of the Black Powermovement, which lasted from 1966 to 1975, expanded upon the aims of the Civil Rights Movementto include racial dignity, economic and political self-sufficiency, and freedom from white authority. The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedomand the conditions which brought it into being are credited with putting pressure on President John F. Kennedy and then Lyndon B. Johnson that culminated in the passage the Civil Rights Act of 1964that banned discriminationin public accommodations, employment, and labor unions.cite web |url=http://www.abbeville.com/civilrights/washington.asp |title=The March On Washington, 1963 |accessdate=2007-10-22 |publisher=Abbeville Press]
In 1790, when the first U.S. Census was taken, Africans (including slaves and free people) numbered about 760,000—about 19.3% of the population. In 1860, at the start of the
American Civil War, the African-American populationincreased 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". 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 lawsand racial violence. The Great Migration, as it was called, spanned the 1890s to the 1970s. From 1916 through the 1960s, more than 6 million black people moved north. But in the 1970s and 1980s, that trend reversed, with more African Americans moving south to the Sunbeltthan leaving it.
The following gives the African-American population in the United States over time, based on U.S. Census figures. (Numbers from years 1920 to 2000 are based on U.S. Census figures as given by the "Time Almanac" of 2005, p 377) The
CIA World Factbookgives a 2006 figure of 12.9% [CIA_World_Factbook_link|us|United States] 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.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. [ [http://lcweb2.loc.gov/ammem/aap/timelin2.html Time Line of African American History, 1881-1900] ] In current demographics, according to 2005 U.S. Censusfigures, some 39.9 million African Americans live in the United States, comprising 13.8 percent of the total population. At the time of the 2000 Census, 54.8 percent of African Americans lived in the South. In that year, 17.6 percent of African Americans lived in the Northeast and 18.7 percent in the Midwest, while only 8.9 percent lived in the western states. The west does have a sizable black population in certain areas, however. California, the nation's most populous state, has the fifth largest African-American population, only behind New York, Texas, Georgia, and Florida. According to the 2000 Census, approximately 2.05% of African Americans identified as Hispanic or Latino in origin. Many of whom may be of Brazilian, Dominican, Cuban, Haitian, or other Latin American descent.
The only self-reported ancestral groups larger than African Americans are Irish and German Americans. [ [http://www.census.gov/prod/2004pubs/c2kbr-35.pdf c2kbr01-2.qxd ] ] Due to the fact that many African Americans trace their ancestry to colonial American origins, some simply self-report as "American".Fact|date=January 2008
Almost 58 percent of African Americans lived in
metropolitan areas in 2000. With over 2 million black residents, New York Cityhad the largest black urban population in the United Statesin 2000, overall the city has a 28 percent 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, Gary, Indiana, had the highest percentage of black residents of any U.S. city in 2000, with 84 percent (though it should be noted that the 2006 Census estimate puts the city's population below 100,000.) Nonetheless, Gary is followed closely by Detroit, Michigan, which was 82 percent African American. Other large cities with African-American majorities include New Orleans, Louisiana(67 percent), Baltimore, Maryland(64 percent) Atlanta, Georgia(61 percent), Memphis, Tennessee(61 percent), and Washington, D.C.(60 percent).
The nation's most affluent county with an African-American majority is
Prince George's County, Maryland, with a median income of $62,467. Other affluent predominantly African-American counties include Dekalb County in Georgia, and Charles City Countyin Virginia. Queens County, New Yorkis the only county with a population of 65,000 or more where African Americans have a higher median household income than European Americans.
African Americans have improved their social and economic standing significantly since the
Civil Rights Movementand 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, racismand discrimination, African Americans as a group remain at a pronounced economic, educationaland socialdisadvantage in many areas relative to European Americans. Persistent social, economicand politicalissues for many African Americans include inadequate health care access and delivery; institutional racismand discrimination in housing, education, policing, criminal justiceand employment; crime, povertyand substance abuse. One of the most serious and long standing issues within African-American communities is poverty. Povertyitself is a hardship as it is related to marital stress and dissolution, health problems, low educational attainment, deficits in psychological functioning, and crime.cite web |url=http://ssw.unc.edu/RTI/presentation/PDFs/aa_families.pdf |title=Characteristics of African American Families |author=Oscar Barbarin, PhD |publisher=University of North Carolina |accessmonthday=September 23 |accessyear=2006 |format=PDF] In 2004, 24.7% of African-American families lived below the poverty level.
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.cite web |url=http://www.census.gov/prod/2006pubs/p20-556.pdf |title=Voting and Registration in the Election of November 2007 |month=March | year=2006 |accessdate=2007-05-30 |format=PDF] African Americans collectively attain higher levels of education than immigrants to the United States. African Americans also have the highest level of Congressional representation than any other minority group in the U.S. [http://www.thisnation.com/congress-facts.html] African Americans tend to vote overwhelmingly for Democrats in U.S. elections. Even most conservative African Americans tend to vote for Democrats. In the 2004
U.S. Presidential Election, Democrat John Kerryreceived 88% of the African American vote compared to 11% for Republican George W. Bush[http://www.cnn.com/ELECTION/2004/pages/results/states/US/P/00/epolls.0.html] .
Historically African Americans were supporters of the Republican Party due to the fact that it was Republican President Abraham Lincoln who helped in granting freedom to American slaves. The African American trend of voting for Democrats can be traced back to the 1930s when in the middle of the
Great Depression, Franklin D. Roosevelt's New Deal program provided economic relief to African Americans. The African American vote became even more solidly Democratic when Democratic presidents John F. Kennedyand Lyndon B. Johnsonpushed for civil rights legislation during the 1960s.Fact|date=September 2008
After over 50 years, marriage rates for "all" Americans began to decline whiledivorce rates and out-of-wedlock births have climbed. [http://media.hoover.org/documents/0817998721_95.pdf] These changes have been greatest among African Americans. After more than 70 years of racial parity black marriage rates began to fall behind whites. [http://media.hoover.org/documents/0817998721_95.pdf] Despite that, overall African Americans tend to be more socially conservative compared to the general American public. [http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2004-06-02-religion-gap_x.htm] African Americans favor "traditional" American values about family and marriage. [http://people-press.org/commentary/?analysisid=121] Although African Americans generally support a more progressive tax structure to provide more services and reduce injustice and support more government spending on social services. [http://people-press.org/commentary/?analysisid=121]
News media and coverage
News mediacoverage of African American news, concerns or dilemmas is inadequate, some activists and academics contend. [blackandbrownnews.com Sharon Toomer, editor http://www.blackandbrownnews.com] [ [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4608039 Examining the Future of Black News Media : NPR ] ] [ [http://www.npr.org/templates/story/story.php?storyId=4608042 How Will African Americans Get the News? : NPR ] ] Activists also contend that the news media present distorted images of African-Americans. [Mikal Muharrar, "Media Blackface," "FAIR," Sept./ October 1998, http://www.fair.org/index.php?page=1431] To combat this African Americans founded their own television networks. Black Entertainment Television, founded by Robert L. Johnsonis a network that targets young African Americans and urban audiences in the United States. Most programming of the network comprises of rap and R&B 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 Christianprogramming; other, non-affiliated Christian programs are also shown during the early morning hours daily. BET is now an global network that reaches 85 million viewers in the Carribean, Canada, and the United Kingdom. [http://bet.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=63] In addition to BET there is BET J(BET Jazz) which is a spin-off cable television channel of BET, created originally to showcase jazzmusic-related programming, especially that of black jazz musicians. While jazz music still remains the primary focus, programming has been expanded to include a block of urban programs as well as some R&B, neo soul, and alternative hip hop. [http://bet.mediaroom.com/index.php?s=18] TV One 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, Good Times, Martin, Boston Publicand It's Showtime at the Apollo. The network primarily owned by Radio One. Radio One, Inc., founded and controlled by Catherine Hughes, it is one of the nation's largest radio broadcasting companies and the largest African American owned radio broadcasting company in the United States. [http://www.blackamericastudy.com/] Other African American networks scheduled to launch in 2009 are the Black Television News Channel founded by former Congressman JC Wattsand Better Black Televisionfounded by Percy Miller. [http://www.nypost.com/seven/05272008/tv/black_news_net_112648.htm] [http://www.marketwatch.com/news/story/better-black-television-bbtv-set/story.aspx?guid=%7B84DACE55-1089-4DB5-8992-4223A5DF65EE%7D&dist=hppr]
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 classhas grown substantially. In 2000, 47% of African Americans owned their homes. The poverty rate among African Americans has dropped from 26.5% in 1998 to 24.7% in 2004.
In 2004, African-American workers had the second-highest
medianearnings of American minoritygroups after Asian Americans, and African Americans had the highest level of male-female income parity of all ethnic groups in the United States. [cite web |url=http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/acs-01.pdf |title=Incomes, Earnings, and Poverty from the 2004 American Community Survey |publisher= United States Census Bureau|month=August | year=2005 |accessmonthday=October 24 |accessyear=2006 |format=PDF] Also, among American minority groups, only Asian Americanswere more likely to hold white collaroccupations (management, professional, and related fields), [cite web |url=http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/c2kbr-25.pdf |title=Occupations: 2000 |author=Peter Fronczek and Patricia Johnson |publisher= United States Census Bureau|month=August | year=2003 |accessmonthday=October 24 |accessyear=2006 |format=PDF] and African Americans were no more or less likely than European Americans to work in the service industry.cite web |url=http://www.census.gov/prod/2003pubs/p20-541.pdf |title=The Black Population in the United States: March 2002 |author=Jesse McKinnon |publisher= United States Census Bureau|month=April | year=2003 |accessmonthday=October 24 |accessyear=2006|format=PDF] 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. [http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_131.htm PINC-03-Part 131 ] ] [http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_254.htm PINC-03-Part 254 ] ] [http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_259.htm PINC-03-Part 259 ] ] [http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_135.htm PINC-03-Part 135 ] ] [ [http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_253.htm PINC-03-Part 253 ] ] 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. [ [http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_128.htm PINC-03-Part 128 ] ] 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. [ [http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_133.htm PINC-03-Part 133 ] ] 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. [ [http://pubdb3.census.gov/macro/032006/perinc/new03_005.htm PINC-03-Part 5 ] ]
However, 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, with the black underclass being hardest hit. The phrase "last hired and first fired" is reflected in the
Bureau of Labor Statisticsunemployment figures. Nationwide, the September 2004 unemployment rate for blacks was 10.3%, while their white counterparts were unemployed at the rate of 4.7%.Fact|date=August 2007
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.cite journal |author=Carmen DeNavas-Walt, Bernadette D. Proctor, Cheryl Hill Lee |url=http://www.census.gov/prod/2005pubs/p60-229.pdf |title=Income, Poverty, and Health Insurance Coverage in the United States: 2004 |month=August | year=2005 |publisher=
U.S. Census Bureau|pages=P60–229 |format=PDF] " The New York Times" reported in 2006 that in Queens, New York, the median income among African American families exceeded that of white families, which the newspaper attributed to the growth in the number of two-parent black families. It noted that Queens was the only county with more than 65,000 residents where that was true. [ [http://www.nytimes.com/2006/10/01/nyregion/01census.html Black Incomes Surpass Whites in Queens] , The New York Times, October 1, 2006]
In 1999, the rate of births to unwed African-American mothers was estimated by economist
Walter E. Williamsof George Mason Universityto be 70%. [ [http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams051999.asp Blaming the past] , Walter Williams, May 19, 1999] 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%. [ [http://www.jewishworldreview.com/cols/williams102705.asp Ammunition for poverty pimps] Walter E. Williams, October 27, 2005]
According to "
Forbes" magazine's "wealthiest American" lists, a 2000 net worth of $800 million dollars made Oprah Winfreythe richest African American of the 20th century; by contrast, the net worth of the 20th century's richest American, Bill Gates, who is of European descent, 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, [http://biz.yahoo.com/ap/070920/apfn_forbes_400_alphabetical_list.html] ] making her the world's richest black person. [cite web |url=http://news.independent.co.uk/world/africa/article2121670.ece |title=Oprah's £20m school proves she's not all talk |date=3 January 2007 |accessdate=2007-05-29] cite web |last=Malonson |first=Roy Douglas |url=http://www.aframnews.com/html/2006-05-10/publisher.htm |title=Condi and Oprah aren't good role models for Black motherhood |work=African-American News & Issues |date= 2006-05-10|accessdate=2006-09-11] Winfrey is also the first African American to make Business Week's annual list of America's 50 greatest philanthropists. [cite web |url=http://www.urbanmecca.com/artman/publish/article_174.shtml |title=Oprah Winfrey Debuts as First African-American On BusinessWeek's Annual Ranking of 'Americas Top Philanthropists' |publisher="BusinessWeek" via "PRNewsWire" |date=November 19, 2004 |accessdate=2006-10-01] BET founder Bob Johnson was also listed as a billionaire prior to an expensive divorce and has recently regained his fortune through a series of real estate investments. Although Forbes estimates his net worth at $1.1 billion, which makes him the only male African-American billionaire, Winfrey remains the only African American wealthy enough to rank among the country's 400 richest people.
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.cite web |url=http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/data/nvsr/nvsr53/nvsr53_15.pdf |title=Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2003 |author=Donna L. Hoyert, PhD.; Hsiang-Ching Kung, PhD.; Betty L. Smith, B.S. Ed. |publisher=Division of Vital Statistics,
Center for Disease Control. |date=February 28, 2005 |accessmonthday=September 23 |accessyear=2006 |format=PDF] In the same year, the gap in life expectancybetween 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 5 years. [cite web|url=http://www.cdc.gov/nchs/products/pubs/pubd/hestats/prelimdeaths04/preliminarydeaths04.htm|title=Deaths: Preliminary Data for 2004|publisher=CDC|year=2004|accessdate=2007-09-20] 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.
At the same time, the life expectancy gap is affected by collectively lower access to quality
medical care. With no system of universal health care, 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. [cite web |url=http://www.census.gov/Press-Release/www/releases/archives/income_wealth/002484.html |title=Income Stable, Poverty Up, Numbers of Americans With and Without Health Insurance Rise, Census Bureau Reports |publisher=U.S. Census Bureau News |date= 2006-08-26|accessdate=2006-10-14] 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. [cite web |url=http://www.nursingworld.org/readroom/position/ethics/etdisrac.htm |title=Ethics and Human Rights Position Statements: Discrimination and Racism in Health Care |publisher=American Nursing Association. |date= 1998-03-06|accessdate=2006-10-14] African Americans have a higher prevalence of some chronic health conditions. [cite web |url=http://www.americanheart.org/presenter.jhtml?identifier=4726 |title=Risk Factors and Coronary Heart Disease |publisher= American Heart Association|accessdate=2006-09-23]
African Americans are the American ethnic group most affected by
HIVand AIDS, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 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 with members of their own racial group.Fact|date=June 2007
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, socialand technologicalinnovation to American culture.The cultivation and use of many agricultural products in the U.S., such as yams, peanuts, rice, okra, sorghum, grits, watermelon, indigo dyes, and cotton, can be traced to African and African-American influences. Notable examples include George Washington Carver, who created 300 products from peanuts, 118 products from sweet potatoes, and 75 from pecans; and George Crum, who invented the potato chip in 1853. [cite web |url=http://www.enchantedlearning.com/inventors/black.shtml |title=African-American Inventors |accessdate=2007-05-30] African American musicis 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, R&B, funk, rock and roll, soul, blues, and other contemporary American musical forms originated in black communities and evolved from other black forms of music, including blues, rag-time, jazz, and gospel music. African American-derived musical forms have also influenced and been incorporated into virtually every other popular musical genre in the world, including country and techno. African-American genres are the most important ethnic vernacular tradition in America, as they have developed independent of African traditions from which they arise more so than any other immigrant groups, including Europeans; make up the broadest and longest lasting range of styles in America; and have, historically, been more influential, interculturally, geographically, and economically, than other American vernacular traditions.cite book |last=Stewart |first=Earl L. |year=1998 |title=African American Music: An Introduction |isbn=0-02-860294-3 |pages=p.3]
African Americans have also had an important role in American dance.
Bill T. Jones, a prominent modern choreographer and dancer, has included historical African-American themes in his work, particularly in the piece "Last Supper at Uncle Tom’s Cabin/The Promised Land". Likewise, Alvin Ailey's artistic work, including his "Revelations" based on his experience growing up as an African American in the South during the 1930s, has had a significant influence on modern dance. Another form of dance, Stepping, is an African-American tradition whose performance and competition has been formalized through the traditionally black fraternities and sororities at universities.Fact|date=May 2007
Many African-American authors have written stories, poems, and essays influenced by their experiences as African Americans.
African American literatureis a major genre in American literature. Famous examples include Langston Hughes, James Baldwin, Richard Wright, Zora Neale Hurston, Ralph Ellison, Nobel Prize winner Toni Morrison, and Maya Angelou.
inventors have created many widely used devices in the world and have contributed to international innovation. Norbert Rillieuxcreated the technique for converting sugar cane juice into white sugar crystals. Moreover, Rillieux left Louisianain 1854 and went to France, where he spent ten years working with the Champollions deciphering Egyptian hieroglyphicsfrom the Rosetta Stone. Most slave inventors were nameless, such as the slave owned by the Confederate President Jefferson Davis who designed the ship propeller used by the Confederate navy.
Following the Civil War, the growth of industry in the
United Stateswas tremendous, and much of this was made possible with inventions by ethnic minorities. By 1913 over 1,000 inventions were patented by black Americans. Among the most notable inventors were Jan Matzeliger, who developed the first machine to mass-produce shoes, and Elijah McCoy, who invented automatic lubrication devices for steam engines. Granville Woodshad 35 patents to improve electric railway systems, including the first system to allow moving trains to communicate. He even sued Alexander Graham Belland Thomas Edisonfor stealing his patents and won both cases. Garrett Morgandeveloped the first automatic traffic signal and gas mask.cite web |url=http://www.computerhealth.org/ebook/1865post.htm |title=Black People and Their Place in World History |accessdate=2007-05-30] Lewis Latimercreated an inexpensive cotton-thread filament, which made electric light bulbs practical because Edison's original light bulb only burned for a few minutes. More recent inventors include McKinley Jones, who invented the movable refrigeration unit for food transport in trucks and trains. Lloyd Quarterman worked with six other black scientists on the creation of the atomic bomb (code named the Manhattan Project.) Quarterman also helped develop the first nuclear reactor, which was used in the atomically powered submarinecalled the Nautilus.
A few other notable examples include the first successful
open heart surgery, performed by Dr. Daniel Hale Williams, the conceptualization and establishment of blood banks around the world by Dr. Charles Drew, and the air conditioner, patented by Frederick M. Jones. Dr. Mark Deanholds three of the original nine patents on the computer on which all PCs are based. More current contributors include Otis Boykin, whose inventions included several novel methods for manufacturing electrical components that found used in applications such as guided missile systems and computers, and Colonel Frederick Gregory, who was not only the first black astronautpilot 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. In 2000, Bendix Aircraft Company began a worldwide promotion of this microwave instrumentation landing system.
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. In the words of
Martin Luther King, Jr., African Americans and their supporters challenged the nation to "rise up and live out the true meaning of its creed that all men are created equal...." [cite web |url=http://usinfo.state.gov/usa/infousa/facts/democrac/38.htm |title=Martin Luther King, Jr |accessdate=2007-05-30]
Civil Rights Movementmarked a sea-change in American social, political, economic and civic life. It brought with it boycotts, sit-ins, demonstrations, court battles, bombings and other violence; prompted worldwide media coverage and intense public debate; forged enduring civic, economic and religious alliances; disrupted and realigned the nation's two major political parties. Over time, it has changed in fundamental ways the manner in which blacks and whites interact with and relate to one another. The movement resulted in the removal of codified, "de jure" racial segregation and discrimination from American life and law, and heavily influenced other groups and movements in struggles for civil rights and social equality within American society, including the Free Speech Movement, the disabled, women, Native Americans, migrant workers and immigrants.
In 2008, Democratic Sen.
Barack Obamabecame the first African American presidential nominee of a major American political party.
The term "African American"
The term African American carries important political overtones. Earlier terms used to identify Americans of African ancestry were conferred upon the group by Americans of European ancestry and were included in the wording of various laws and legal decisions which became tools of white supremacy and
oppressionFact|date=April 2008. There developed among blacks in America a growing desire for a term of their own choosing.
With the political consciousness that emerged from the political and social ferment of the late 1960s and early 1970s, the term Negro fell into disfavor among many blacks. It had taken on a moderate, accommodationist, even
Uncle Tom, 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 and a term often associated in English with things negative and undesirable, but they proclaimed, " Black is beautiful".
In this same period, a smaller number of people favored Afro-American. In the 1980s the term African American was advanced on the model of, for example,
German American. Jesse Jacksonpopularized the term, and it was quickly adopted by major media. 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. 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, 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
culturaland historicalroots. The term expresses pride in Africa and a sense of kinship and solidarity with others of the African diaspora— an embracing of the notion of pan-Africanism as earlier enunciated by prominent African thinkers such as Marcus Garvey, W. E. B. Du Bois, Haile Selassieof Ethiopiaand, later, George Padmore.
Who is African American?
Since 1977, the United States officially categorized black people (revised to "black" or "African American" in 1997) are classified as "A person having origins in any of the black racial groups of Africa." Other Federal offices, such as the
United States CensusBureau and the adheres to the OMB standards on race in its data collection and tabulations efforts.cite web |url=http://www.whitehouse.gov/omb/fedreg/1997standards.html |title=Revisions to the Standards for the Classification of Federal Data on Race and Ethnicity |year=1997 |publisher=Office of Management and Budget] The U.S. Department of Justice Federal Bureau of Investigation also 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.cite web |url=http://www.fbi.gov/ucr/handbook/ucrhandbook04.pdf |title=Uniform Crime Reporting Handbook |publisher=U.S. Department of Justice. Federal Bureau of Investigation |pages=97 |year=2004|format=PDF]
Due in part to a centuries-old history within the
United States, historical experiences pre- and post-slavery, and migrations throughout North America, the vast majority of contemporary African Americans possess varying degrees of admixture with European and Native American ancestry. [ [http://www.journals.uchicago.edu/AJHG/journal/issues/v63n6/980409/980409.web.pdf Estimating African American Admixture Proportions by Use of Population-Specific Alleles] ] [ [http://www.familytreedna.com/pdf/HammerFSIinpress.pdf Population structure of Y chromosome SNP haplogroups in the United States and forensic implications for constructing Y chromosome STR databases] ]
Some courts have called a person black if the person had any known African ancestry. It became known as the
one-drop rule, meaning that a single drop of "black blood" makes a person "black". Some courts have called it the traceable amount rule, and anthropologists used to call it the hypodescentrule, meaning that racially mixed persons were assigned the status of the subordinate group. Prior to the one-drop rule, different states had different laws regarding color; in Virginia, for example, a person was legally black if he or she had at least one-sixteenth black ancestry. The one-drop rule was implemented by states in the southern United States during the early to mid-1880s Fact|date=March 2007. For African Americans, the one-drop system of pigmentocracywas a significant factor in ethnic solidarity. African Americans generally shared a common lot in society and, therefore, common cause — regardless of their multiracialadmixture or social and economic stratification.
In the 1980s, parents of mixed-race children began to organize and lobby for the addition of a more inclusive term of racial designation that would reflect the heritage of their children. When the U.S. government proposed the addition of the category of "bi-racial" or "multiracial" in 1988, the response from the public was largely negative.cite web |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=9tP7_3j3WrkC&pg=PA129&dq=most+african+americans+may+have+native+american+heritage&sig=ACfU3U0Qj3oGYXBs5gOU7v--h2WgcInomg#PPA128,M1|title=More Than Black?:Multiracial|author=G. Reginald Daniel|accessdate=2008-09-19 |year=2008 |publisher= Temple University Press] In recent decades, the
multiculturalclimate of the United States has continued to expand. Although the terms mixed-race, biracial, and multiracialare increasingly used, it remains common for those who possess any visible traits of black heritage to identify or be identified solely as blacks or African Americans. As well, it is very common in the United States for people of mixed ancestry possessing any recent black heritage to self-identify demographically as African American while acknowledging both their African-American and other cultural heritages socially.
For example, 55% of European Americans classify Senator
Barack Obamaas biracial when they are told that he has a white mother, while 66% of African Americans consider him black. [cite news|url=http://bbsnews.net/article.php/20061222014017231 |title=Williams/Zogby Poll: Americans' Attitudes Changing Towards Multiracial Candidates |date= 2006-12-22|accessdate=2007-09-23 |publisher=BBSNews.com ] Obama describes himself as black [" [http://www.sptimes.com/2007/04/15/Opinion/Shades_of_black.shtml Shades of black] " By Eric Deggans. St. Petersburg Times. Published April 15, 2007] and African American, using both terms interchangeably,cite news|url=http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2007/02/11/60minutes/printable2458530.shtml |title=Transcript excerpt: Senator Barack Obama on Sixty Minutes |publisher=CBS News |date=2007=02-11 |accessdate=2008-01-29] and is generally considered to be African American. [cite news|url=http://www.senate.gov/pagelayout/history/h_multi_sections_and_teasers/Photo_Exhibit_African_American_Senators.htm |title=Breaking New Ground: African American Senators |accessdate=2007-07-22 |work=U.S. Senate Historical Office ]
Relationships between Native Americans and African slaves first occurred in 1502, and have continued throughout the centuries.cite web |url=http://www.africanamericans.com/BlackIndians.htm|title=Black Indians|author=William Loren Katz |accessdate=2008-08-11 |year=2008 |publisher=AfricanAmericans.com ] Tracing the genealogy of African Americans and Native Americans is a difficult process, because most African slaves were not permitted to read or write and many Native Americans did not speak English.cite web |url=http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1546/is_n4_v11/ai_18953815|title=The Indian connection|author=Mary A. Dempsey|accessdate=2008-09-19 |year=1996 |publisher= American Visions] Another difficulty is that elder family members sometimes withhold pertinent genealogical information. However, knowing the family's geographic origins is a key factor in helping reveal Native American ancestry from specific tribes. Due to continued intermarriage between African-Americans and Native Americans, some people who are considered African American can claim Native heritage, although since the 1980s many Native groups refuse to recognize those claims. [ [http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/13.09/seminoles_pr.html Wired 13.09: Blood Feud ] ]
Terms no longer in common use
mulattoand coloredwere 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, the term is considered inappropriate and is now often used as a pejorative. [cite book |last=Tottie |first=Gunnel |title=An Introduction to American English |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=WWDUtK-f1tQC&pg=PA200&sig=ACfU3U2DFYzfzpKnN11PL6xnrQE37ysKRQ |accessdate=2008-08-04 |year=2002 |publisher=Blackwell Publishing |location=Oxford |isbn=0631197923 |pages=p. 200 ] [cite book |last=Anderson |first=Talmadge |coauthors=James Stewart |title=Introduction to African American Studies |url=http://books.google.com/books?id=49tXR1Ok6poC&pg=PA3&sig=ACfU3U1hBxBTh_1xiFq3YXtKPbauMAnkWw |accessdate=2008-08-04 |year=2007 |publisher=Black Classics Press |location=Baltimore |isbn=1580730396 |pages=p. 3 ] "Colored" and "Negro", now largely defunct, survive in certain historical organizations such as the United Negro College Fund, the National Council of Negro Women, and the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People. Negroidwas a term used by anthropologistsfirst in the 18th century to describe some indigenous Africans and their descendants throughout the African diaspora. As with most descriptors of race based on inconsistent, unscientific phenotypical standards,fact|date=July 2008 the term is controversial and imprecise.fact|date=July 2008 Growing numbers of blacks have substituted the term Africoid, which, unlike "Negroid", encompasses the phenotypes of all indigenous peoples of Africa. [S.O.Y. Keita. History in Africa, Vol. 20, 1993 (1993), pp. 129-154]
African and Native American interaction
African American art
African American British
African American history
African American literature
African American National Biography Project
* African-Native Americans
African American Vernacular English
American Black Upper Class
African immigration to the United States
Definitions of black people
Lists of African Americans
List of African-American-related topics
List of topics related to Black and African people
List of U.S. cities with large African-American populations
List of U.S. communities with African American majority populations
List of U.S. counties with African American majority populations
List of U.S. metropolitan areas with large African-American populations
Military history of African Americans
* Native Americans
Native American tribes
Sierra Leone Creole people
Colored, Creole, Negro, Nigger, Nigga
United States foreign born per capita income
*Brandon S. Centerwall, "Race, Socioeconomic Status and Domestic Homicide", Atlanta, 1971-72", 74 AM. J. PUB. HLTH. 813, 815 (1984)
*Darnell F. Hawkins, "Inequality, Culture, and Interpersonal Violence", 12 HEALTH AFFAIRS 80 (1993)
*Jerome A. Neapolitan, "Cross-National Variation in Homicide; Is Race A Factor"?" 36 CRIMINOLOGY 139 (1998)
*Bohlen, C. "Does She Say the Same Things in her Native Tongue?" New York Times, May 18, 1986
*Felder, J. (1992) From the Statue of Liberty to the Statue of Bigotry. New York: Jack Felder.
*Felder, J. "Black Origins and Lady Liberty". Daily Challenge. July 16, 1990
*Sinclair, T. Was Original Statue a Tribute to Blacks? New York Voice, July 5, 1986
*The New York Post, "Statue of Liberty" June 17, 1986.
*Altman, Susan "The Encyclopedia of African-American Heritage"
*"The Music of Black Americans: A History".
Eileen Southern. W. W. Norton & Company; 3rd edition, (1997). ISBN 0-393-97141-4
*Stewart, Earl L. (1998). "African American Music: An Introduction". ISBN 0-02-860294-3.
*Jack Salzman, ed., "Encyclopedia of Afro-American culture and history", New York, NY : 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, 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
*van Sertima, Ivan "They Came Before Columbus"
*"The Politicization of Changing Terms of Self Reference Among American Slave Descendants", " American Speech", v 66, no.2, Summer 1991, p. 133-46
*Richard Thompson Ford [http://www.slate.com/id/2106753/ Name Games] , "Slate", September 16, 2004. Article discussing the problems of defining "African American".
* [http://armsandthelaw.com/archives/2006/04/don_kates_on_af.php "Of Arms & the Law: Don Kates on Afro-American Homicide Rates"]
* [http://www.sciam.com/article.cfm?chanID=sa004&articleID=000C97BA-94E0-146C-944583414B7FFE9F "Scientific American" Magazine (June 2006) Trace Elements] Reconnecting African-Americans to an ancestral past.
* [http://www.blackbusinessplanet.com African American Business]
* [http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2007/03/02/EDGT1ODJHH1.DTL&hw=slaves+african+american+obama&sn=002&sc=736 "The Definition of Political Absurdity"] , "San Francisco Chronicle", March 2, 2007. Editorial discussing prominent Americans arguing whether presidential candidate Barack Obama qualifies as "black enough."
* [http://www.sonoma.edu/asc/publications/weweretheretoo/cooktoc.htm African American archaeology in Sacramento, California] pdf
* [http://www.sonoma.edu/asc/cypress/finalreport/index.htm African American archaeology in Oakland, California] - See Part III, Chap 10.
* [http://imslp.org/wiki/User:Clark_Kimberling/Historical_Notes_1 Melodies by African American composers,] including historical notes and biographical sketches
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