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African Americans

Ethnic group in the United States / From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

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African Americans, also known as Afro-Americans or Black Americans, are an ethnic group consisting of Americans with partial or total ancestry from any of the black racial groups of Africa.[3][4] The term "African American" generally denotes descendants of Africans enslaved in the United States.[5][6][7] While some Black immigrants or their children may also come to identify as African American, the majority of first-generation immigrants do not, preferring to identify with their nation of origin.[8]

Quick facts: Total population, Regions with significant po...
African Americans
Proportion of Black Americans in each county as of the 2020 U.S. census
Total population
46,936,733 (2020)[1]
14.2% of the total U.S. population (2020)[1]
41,104,200 (2020) (one race)[1]
12.4% of the total U.S. population (2020)[1]
Regions with significant populations
Across the United States, especially in the South and urban areas
English (American English dialects, African-American English)
Louisiana Creole French
Gullah Creole English
Predominantly Protestant (71%) including Historically Black Protestant (53%), Evangelical Protestant (14%), and Mainline Protestant (4%);
significant[note 1] others include Catholic (5%), Jehovah's Witnesses (2%), Muslim (2%), and unaffiliated (18%).[2]

African Americans constitute the third largest racial ethnic group in the U.S. after White Americans and Hispanic and Latino Americans.[9] Most African Americans are descendants of enslaved people within the boundaries of the present United States.[10][11] On average, African Americans are predominantly of West and Central African ancestry, usually with smaller amounts of Western European, and tiny amounts of Native American ancestries.[12][13][14][15]

African-American history began in the 16th century, with Africans from West and Central Africa being sold to European slave traders and transported across the Atlantic to the Western Hemisphere. After arriving in the Americas, they were sold as slaves to European colonists and put to work on plantations, particularly in the southern colonies. A few were able to achieve freedom through manumission or escape and founded independent communities before and during the American Revolution. After the United States was founded in 1783, most Black people continued to be enslaved, being most concentrated in the American South, with four million enslaved only liberated during and at the end of the Civil War in 1865.[16] During Reconstruction, they gained citizenship and the right to vote; due to the widespread policy and ideology of White supremacy, they were largely treated as second-class citizens and found themselves soon disenfranchised in the South. These circumstances changed due to participation in the military conflicts of the United States, substantial migration out of the South, the elimination of legal racial segregation, and the civil rights movement which sought political and social freedom. However, racism against African Americans remains a problem into the 21st century. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected president of the United States.[17]

African-American culture has had a significant influence on worldwide culture, making numerous contributions to visual arts, literature, the English language, philosophy, politics, cuisine, sports, and music. The African-American contributions to popular music is so profound that most American music, including jazz, gospel, blues, rock and roll, funk, disco, hip hop, R&B and soul, has its origins either partially or entirely in the African-American community.[18][19]

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