African Americans (American Blacks or Black Americans), racial group in the United States whose dominant ancestry is from sub-Saharan West Africa. Many African Americans also claim European, Native American, or Asian ancestors. A variety of names have been used for African Americans at various points in history. African Americans have been referred to as Negroes, colored, blacks, and Afro-Americans, as well as lesser-known terms, such as the 19th-century designation Anglo-African. The terms Negro and colored are now rarely used.
African American, black, and to a lesser extent Afro-American, are used interchangeably today. Recent black immigrants from Africa and the islands of the Caribbean are sometimes classified as African Americans. However, these groups, especially first- and second-generation immigrants, often have cultural practices, histories, and languages that are distinct from those of African Americans born in the United States. For example, Caribbean natives may speak French, British English, or Spanish as their first language.
Emigrants from Africa may speak a European language other than English or any of a number of African languages as their first language. Caribbean and African immigrants often have little knowledge or experience of the distinctive history of race relations in the United States. Thus, Caribbean and African immigrants may or may not choose to identify with the African American community. According to 2000 U. S. census, some 34. 7 million African Americans live in the United States, making up 12. 3 percent of the total population. 2000 census shows that 54.
8 percent 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. Almost 88 percent of African Americans lived in metropolitan areas in 2000. With over 2 million African American residents, New York City had the largest black urban population in the United States in 2000. Washington, D. C. , had the highest proportion of black residents of any U. S. city in 2000, with African Americans making up almost 60 percent of the population.
Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Atlantic Slave Trade, Atlantic Slave Trade, the forced transportation of at least 10 million enslaved Africans from their homelands in Africa to destinations in Europe and the Americas during the 15th through 19th centuries. European and North American slave traders transported most of these slaves to areas in tropical and subtropical America, where the vast majority worked as laborers on large agricultural plantations.
See Slavery. Between 1440 and 1880 Europeans and North Americans exchanged merchandise for slaves along 5600 km (3500 miles) of Africa’s western and west central Atlantic coasts. These slaves were then transported to other locations around the Atlantic Ocean. The vast majority went to Brazil, the Caribbean, and Spanish-speaking regions of South America and Central America. Smaller numbers were taken to Atlantic islands, continental Europe, and English-speaking areas of the North American mainland.
Approximately 12 million slaves left Africa via the Atlantic trade, and more than 10 million arrived. The Atlantic slave trade involved the largest intercontinental migration of people in world history prior to the 20th century. This transfer of so many people, over such a long time, had enormous consequences for every continent bordering the Atlantic. It profoundly changed the racial, social, economic, and cultural makeup in many of the American nations that imported slaves.
It also left a legacy of racism that many of those nations are still struggling to overcome. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved. Civil Rights Movement in the United States, political, legal, and social struggle by black Americans to gain full citizenship rights and to achieve racial equality. The civil rights movement was first and foremost a challenge to segregation, the system of laws and customs separating blacks and whites that whites used to control blacks after slavery was abolished in the 1860s.
During the civil rights movement, individuals and civil rights organizations challenged segregation and discrimination with a variety of activities, including protest marches, boycotts, and refusal to abide by segregation laws. Many believe that the movement began with the Montgomery bus boycott in 1955 and ended with the Voting Rights Act of 1965, though there is debate about when it began and whether it has ended yet. The civil rights movement has also been called the Black Freedom Movement, the Negro Revolution, and the Second Reconstruction. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation.
All rights reserved. AAVE Distinctive patterns of language use among African Americans arose as creative responses to the hardships imposed on the African American community. Slave-owners often intentionally mixed people who spoke many different African languages to discourage communication in any language other than English on their plantations. Moreover, many whites were unwilling to allow blacks to learn proper English. One response to these conditions was the development of pidgins, simplified mixtures of two or more languages that speakers of different languages could use to communicate with each other.
Some of these pidgins eventually became fully developed Creole languages spoken by certain groups as a native language. Significant numbers of people still speak some of these Creole languages, notably Gullah on the Sea Islands of South Carolina and Georgia. African American Vernacular English (AAVE), also called black English or Ebonics, is a dialect of English spoken by many African Americans that shares some features with Creole languages. Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.
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