African Americans (also known as Afro-Americans or Black Americans are an ethnic group of Americans (residents or citizens of the US) with partial or total ancestry from one of the Black racial societies in Africa. The term may also be applied to include only those individuals who’re descended from the enslaved Africans.
African Americans establish the 3rd largest ethnic and racial group in the US (after White Americans and Latino and Hispanic Americans). Many African Americans are of Central and West African descent and are great descendants of the enslaved blacks within the boundaries of the current US. On average, 3% Native American Heritage, 19% European and Black Americans are of 78% West African, with a huge variation between different individuals. Immigrants from some Central American, African, South American, and Caribbean nations and their descendants can also self-identify with this term.
Black-American history begins in the sixteenth century, with Africans unwillingly taken as slaves to the Spanish America, and in the seventeenth century with many African slaves taken to different English colonies in the North America. After the establishment of the US, black persons continued to be enslaved, with 4 million denied their rights from bondage before the Civil War. Believed to be very inferior to whites, they were always treated as second-class citizens. In fact, the Naturalization Act of 1790 allowed United States citizenship to white people only, and white men of property could only vote. These conditions were eventually altered by the development of the black community, Reconstruction, participation in the top military conflicts of the US, the abolition of racial segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement that sought social and political freedom. Barack Obama became the first Black president of United States in 2008.
Here are some of the interesting facts about African Americans:
1. February was selected as the month to commemorate Black History since it’s the birth month of President Abraham Lincoln and writer and abolitionist Frederick Douglass.
2. Woodson did believe that rather than only concentrating on some men and women in America, the African community should concentrate on the numerous Black men and women all over the world who had really contributed to the improvement of human civilization.
3. Blacks are more likely to say more needs to be done to accomplish racial equality in the United States than the whites.
In the 2013 Pew Research survey, 44% of whites and 79% of blacks said more needs to be done to accomplish racial equality in the US. 17% of white and 8% of blacks said a little or even nothing should be done.
4. President Obama is the most important black leader.
In 2011, 2/3 of blacks said Obama was a top black leader in the US, according to the Washington Post poll.
Nearly 7% named Martin Luther King Jr., and 16% provided no opinion. Jesse Jackson was the top option in past decades, according to different surveys.
5. High school dropout rates have reduced faster among black people ages 18-24 than the nationwide average.
The rate has reduced from 24% in 1976 to 8% in 2013, based on Pew. Meanwhile, the number of blacks graduating from various colleges increase faster than the nationwide average. The share of those 25 years and above with at least a bachelor’s degree has risen from 7% in 1976 to 22% in 2013. The national average increased from 15% to 32% over the same period.
6. In 1976, fifty years after the earliest celebration, President Gerald Ford extended Negro History Week to the Black History Month.
7. Nat ‘King’ Cole, a songwriter, singer, and pianist was the first Afro-American to host the national television program-The Nat King Cole Show- in 1956.
8. Robert Johnson, the owner of the Black Entertainment Television, became the first African-American billionaire in America in 2001.