Study "African-American / Black Studies" Essays 1-55

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African-American Perspectives on Education Essay

… He received pleasure from literature and philosophy -- the ability to become more of the world and of the times comes with literacy. As a person a part of a group formally oppressed in America, literacy and education are also… [read more]

African-American Art Research Paper

… Like Hayden's "Fetiche et Fleurs," Richmond Barthe's "Fera Benga" subverts European aesthetic norms. The "Fera Benga" small bronze statue is full of raw male potency. A naked man dances with a scimitar, a weapon that seems far more phallic than… [read more]

Colonial America African-Americans Essay

… There was a very small opportunity for moving up in class, as indentured servants, for example, were sometimes given land at the end of their servitude and could vote because they were landowners. Women in this class also worked, for example as slaves, to maintain at least a subsistence level of existence. The slave portion of this lowest class is well-represented by Mammy in "Gone with the Wind," who was in the lowest class and simply owned for her entire life. As descriptions of these three groups illustrate, it was possible for all three social classes -- high, middle and low -- to reside on one plantation and still retain their distinct class status.

3. Conclusion

African-Americans in Colonial America experienced the United States differently, depending on whether they lived in the North or South. The American South of the 17th and 18th Centuries was dominated by agricultural life, particularly plantation life, and that set the stage for high black population of slaves who were oppressed in every major area of life. Meanwhile, the more industrial North also had slavery but to a lesser extent and with a high percentage of indentured servants, allowing greater freedoms in basic areas of life and also the possibility of being completely free. The John Catherwood letter indicates many aspects of Colonial life, including but not limited to the status of the two correspondents, immigration and the practice of indentured servitude. Finally, examination of the craftsmen, plantation owners and slaves on a plantation illustrates the three major classes in Colonial America, with Craftsmen in the middle class, plantation owners in the gentry class and slaves in the lowest… [read more]

African-American History Sharecropping Was Not a Direct Term Paper

… African-American History


Sharecropping was not a direct effort by whites to keep blacks in a submissive position, but rather was a phenomenon that developed after the Civil War as the South tried to rebuild its economy (Riddle 1995). Southern… [read more]

African-American Women Term Paper

… African-American Women

Oppression, Diversity and the Struggle for Human Rights: African-American Women

The history of African-American women is closely aligned to the history of social and racial oppression in America.

Significantly, the history of this group is linked strongly to… [read more]

Importance of African-American Music With AA Literature Essay

… ¶ … African-American music with AA literature

Importance of African-American music in AA literature

Music receives a truly hallowed position in African-American literature. A passion for music, especially African-American music, should come as no surprise. After all, African-American ("Black") music has been and still is the dominant influence on modern American popular music, which now captivates and influences most of the world's audiences. American Pop music, even Hip-Hop itself, has penetrated countries as isolated as Guam and Ghana. Thesis: Music is emphasized so much because music is the only distinguishing feature of African-American culture which is exclusively positive.

The Development of African-American Culture and Art (Music)

The migration of many talented, ambitious Blacks from the Agricultural South after Reconstruction to urban areas further north set the conditions for an artistic flowering which revealed the unique culture of African-Americans. These rural emigrants would create a livelihood for themselves and many educated themselves at the many colleges and universities in their new environs. Some of them chose to create the type of art that they had been exposed to, "taught," in their universities and in their acculturation in the urban North.

Others, however, could not ignore their upbringing in the agricultural South when creating art. These writers and artists would express what was real to them in a manner which felt natural to them. The result has come to be known as the "Harlem Renaissance," where the seeds of Black identity came to fruition.

In the Negro Artist and the Racial Mountain, one of the greatest African-American writers, Langston Hughes attested to the significance of negro art in expressing the negro identity. He declared that "We younger Negro artists who create now intend to express our individual dark-skinned selves without fear or shame." (Hughes). The… [read more]

African-American Studies Harlem Renaissance Research Paper

… Each work is distinctive of the Harlem Renaissance period in style and content.

The benefactors of the Harlem Renaissance period began as the African-American community. African-Americans have experienced a long and horrific history within American history. This group suffered along with all the other groups that compose the American people during WWI. In the history of America, often experience and contributions during wartime help facilitate social change and steps toward equal rights after the war is over, as is the case with blacks, women, and homosexuals. African-Americans had gained some respect and social mobility because of their contributions in the great war and the Harlem Renaissance was an expression of that joy and freedom that came from time having passed since Reconstruction and WWI's conclusion. While the benefactors began as black men and black women, the benefactors grew to be the American people and the world as many of the artifacts of the Harlem Renaissance grew to be fundamental and cherished aspects of American culture which spread around the world.

Alain Leroy Locke was a man of great influence and great genius. Locke was a primary contributor and in some ways, mastermind, behind the Harlem Renaissance, an age in the early decades of 20th century American history. Locke was African-American; his achievements and contributions to society were often marked by his race whether he was working in direct support of African-American causes/issues, or not. Alain Locke was one of the first non-whites to attend and graduate from Harvard University early in the 20th century. He graduated from Harvard with two degrees. He was the first African-American Rhodes Scholar, attended distinguished universities in Europe, was Phi Beta Kappa, and was a long time professor at the historically black university, Howard University in Maryland. Locke is regarded as one of the most revered thinkers, writers, and scholars in African-American history.

Though the movement lasted just a couple of decades, the ideas and products of the Harlem Renaissance have endured into the present. Many of the artists, activists, and thinkers of this period are revered and considered iconic from the perspective of the 21st century. Harlem was quite a popular destination for African-Americans during the period of great migration after Reconstruction. This neighborhood in New York City became a hub for cultural expression and the flowering of African-American culture.


Jackson, C. (2012) Harlem Renaissance: Pivotal Period in the Development of Afro-American Culture. Yale -- New Haven Teachers Institute, Web, Available from: 2013 October 16.

Sage, H. (2010) the Progressive Era: The Great Age. The Academic American, Available from: 2013 October 16. [read more]

African-American Studies My Goal in This Class Term Paper

… African-American Studies

My Goal in This Class

My goal in this class is twofold. I would like to learn more about African-American history in general because the topic is very interesting to me, and I feel it is important to know about our culture and our history. In addition, I feel that the topic of black American slavery has changed the culture and society of our country from the very start, and that it has had a profound affect on our country and our people, and I would like to learn more about that, too. That in turn leads to a discussion of civil rights and the continuing fight for equal consideration and equal opportunities. Even today, there are barriers between black and white, rich and poor, and natives and non-natives. I would like to get a bigger grasp on what causes these differences and why they cannot seem to be overcome in our culture and around the world.

One way to achieve these goals is to read more literature and historic accounts of the African-American struggle for freedom. However, this leads to the need for a greater understanding of African-American's… [read more]

Du Sable Museum Essay

… Out of Sub-Saharan regions, Yoruba, Senufo, Pende, Chokwe, Shona, Zulu and Ethiopia, have been emphasized in the collection of artifacts. Furthermore, major collection of photography, bibliography, archived documents and photographs and artifacts made by numerous artists are also part of… [read more]

African-American Literature Du Bois Term Paper

… (93) "The harder the slaves were driven the more careless and fatal was their farming. Then came the revolution of war and Emancipation, the bewilderment of Reconstruction, -- and now, what is the Egypt of the Confederacy, and what meaning has it for the nation's weal or woe?" (92-93) The message is a strong sentiment describing the history of the place, the remnants of fences and homes once opulent and plush, though not enjoyed by the laborers, still indicative of care and prosperity, now only a skeleton of history rotting into the ground or roughly rebuilt to house a worker who simply has nowhere else to go. "I think I never before quite realized the place of the Fence in civilization. This is the Land of the Unfenced, where crouch on either hand scores of ugly one-room cabins, cheerless and dirty. Here lies the Negro problem in its naked dirt and penury. And here are no fences." (89) The whole tour of the region offers a look at what Du Bois saw as the center of slavery, the seat of the south, and the ideal of the peculiar institution which to his day was still reaping its taxes on the backs of its laborers and their offspring. The message is clear, there is no joy left and what little bits one finds are exceptions still eking out happiness and minimal prosperity, often when offered a hand up by a kindly white person some years back, a white person whose kindness rarely passed a generation. "His master helped him to get a start, but when the black man died last fall the master's sons immediately laid claim to the estate." (94)

The theme of the chapter and that of the later chapter "Of the Sorrow Songs" is one that attempts to demonstrate that the message of the sorrow songs, such as the song "Bright Sparkles" which serves as the epigraph of Chapter 7 is the long mournful message of the African slave, rekindled in the present to serve as a bridge of understandings. The songs to Du Bois represent the toil and trouble of living the life of a former slave and a freeman without true reconstruction and only limited infrastructure to stand on, "And so by fateful chance the Negro folksong -- the rhythmic cry of the slave -- stands to-day not simply as the sole American music, but as the most beautiful expression of human experience born this side the seas. (186)

The concept of toil and trouble as an underlying reality for black people with limited means and no structure to create upward mobility can also be seen in many other narratives from the era. Two in particular demonstrate this well, Harriet E. Wilson's Our Nig and Harriet A. Jacobs Incidents in the Life of Slave Girl. In each of these works even before they have begun the authors offer apologies that though common in many works of the day nonetheless offer glimpses into their lives of toil.… [read more]

African-American History Between 1914 and 1929 Term Paper

… African-American History

Between 1914 and 1929, approximately one million African-American individuals moved from the rural south to the more industrial north in a mass exodus known as the Great Migration. This movement was caused by a number of economic, environmental,… [read more]

African-American History the Sharecropping System Term Paper

… African-American History

The Sharecropping system

The Sharecropping system was a labor agreement that was shaped by the situation in the South after the Civil War and by the mutual dependency between farmers and laborers. (the Sharecropping System) the Civil War… [read more]

African-Americans in Louisiana Term Paper

… She dominated her children and husband, the Sambo, with her temper. This image of the Mammy as the controller of the African-American male, was used as further evidence of his inferiority to whites (

The second is the "Sapphire" stereotype,… [read more]

African-American History Since Reconstruction Research Paper

… Assassination of President Lincoln was not merely a tragic event because it marked the death of the man who had led the nation through its tumultuous Civil War: it also had a lasting impact upon the future of Reconstruction. President… [read more]

African-American Male Students in Community-Centered After-School Programs Literature Review

… African-American Male Students in Community-Centered After-School Programs

It is said that the teenage years are the most critical when it comes to determining how a person enters adulthood and who they will be as adults. African-American males are of teens… [read more]

African American Literature Term Paper

… Describing a naming ritual, Haley has the father walking through a village to his wife. "Moving to his wife's side, he lifted up the infant and, as all watched, whispered three times into his son's ear the name he had… [read more]

End of Isolation Research Paper

… ¶ … Isolation

African-American Civil Rights

Historically, Africans and African-American citizens have never encountered social, racial, or civic equality within the United States. Despite a significant amount of progress in these areas, some of these contemporary American citizens contend that… [read more]

African-American Males Essay

… Significance

Since little is known about how African-American mothers actually react to suicides committed by a son, there is little knowledgeable help that the therapeutic community can give to them. It is known that grief is a very private event, maybe even more private in this community because of institutional lack of trust, so getting mothers to tell relate how they have been effected will be central to making sure that other mothers in a similar situation are able to receive better regulated assistance from helping professionals. The body of research in any field is necessary to formulate treatment plans, and the lack of knowledge in this area prevents such plans to be made to any realistic extent. The study can continue the dialogue on suicide in the African-American community, describe the role of spirituality in relationship to suicide, as well as discuss what programs/resources were utilized and are available in the community. It can also serve as a means to develop new programs which increase the effectiveness of the help given to African-American mothers.

Knowledge Base Gaps

The data supporting suicide prevention in the African-American community has largely been taken from studies conducted on the numbers that arise from census and CDC data which does not discuss reasons for phenomena. The data gives researchers a firm look at trends such as the rise in rate of suicides, but it is little able to help researchers develop effective means to help the survivors of the suicide. Since the African-American family unit is highly matriarchal, it would follow that mothers are affected to a greater degree than other members of the family or community. Also, suicide seems an even more senseless method of death than community violence, so it is inherently more difficult for the survivors to deal with.

This study seeks to add understanding specific areas of research (African-American male suicide, effect on mothers), but it also seeks to determine what factors increase the incidence of this problem in the community. Birth order has been studied extensively as it related to suicide, but it is one factor that has received little attention in the African-American community. Educational attainment is another area where needed knowledge can be gained. Some studies relate that a higher education level is more conducive to suicide whereas others have shown the opposite effect. It is necessary to see what, if any, effect educational attainment has on the commission of suicide by a young African-American male, but it is also necessary to determine if the mother's educational level has an effect on whether she is able to successfully use intervention methods.

African-American mothers respond to these events differently than their counterparts in other races and ethnicities, but their specific reaction to suicide has been not been the subject of enough research. It may be assumed that therapy is less effective for this population because of their inherent distrust of the system, but that is, as yet, an unknown quantity. It may also be helpful to determine whether… [read more]

African-American's Ethnic or Cultural Research Paper

… Some African-Americans are Muslims, for example, others are not part of church communities. However, because of the way that African-Americans are treated as a group in the U.S., regardless of an individual's personal identification with values, religion, and cultural markers associated with the group, the experience of an African-American person will be 'different' from an individual who comes from a group that is not historically discriminated against in America.

The great black intellectual W.E.B. Dubois spoke of the need for African-Americans to have a 'dual consciousness' regarding white and black culture. An African-American, he said, lived:"a world which yields him no true self-consciousness, but only lets him see himself through the revelation of the other world. It is a peculiar sensation, this double-consciousness, this sense of always looking at one's self through the eyes of others, of measuring one's soul by the tape of a world that looks on in amused contempt and pity." African-Americans were forced to understand the culture of whites as well as their own culture, and even when they made a contribution to mainstream American culture, such as in the form of jazz, their culture and worldview was never considered to be fully 'mainstream.' This sense of difference marks all aspects of African-American culture, even in its fullest expressions of religious and cultural diversity.


Cloud, John. (2008). Breaking down the black vote. Time. Retrieved:,9171,1704667,00.html#ixzz1mIqJtkCX

Dubois, W.EB. On double consciousness. Excerpted:

Halbert, Chanita Hughes, Frances K. Barg, Benita Weathers, Ernestine Delmoor, James Coyne,

E. Paul Wileyto, Justin Arocho, Brandon Mahler, & S. Bruce Malkowicz. (2007).

differences in cultural beliefs and values among African-American and European

American men with prostate cancer. Cancer, Culture & Literacy, 14 (3):

277. Retrieved

Horn, Ivor B., Tina L. Cheng, & Jill Joseph. (2004). Discipline in the African-American

community: The impact of socioeconomic status on beliefs and practices.

Pediatrics, 113 (5). [read more]

African-American History 1865 to the Present Essay

… African-American History: 1865 to the Present

How did Blacks define freedom and how did they realize ideas of freedom? Elsa Barkley Brown's essay "The Labor of Politics" (p. 75) delves into the social and political activities of African-American women between… [read more]

African Americans During Early 1900 Term Paper

… African-Americans during Early 1900's

The American society, since its early beginnings, was marked by the phenomenon of segregation. Soon after the birth of the U.S.A. As an independent state, pressures between the white and the black communities began to emerge… [read more]

African-Americans Baroch, Andrew J. 10 Term Paper

… "

6. O'Leary, Mary E. "Education Gap Threatens State Economy." The Herald Online. Retrieved November 13, 2005, from BRD=1641& PAG=461& dept_id=10110& rfi=6.

This article focused around a study conducted by The National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education… [read more]

African-American Assimilation and Acculturation Self-Identity Term Paper

… Assimilation requires that more African-Americans adopt the philosophy of individualism, while many are still interested in traditional family dynamics and social values.

Pan-Africanism and Assimilation

Adeleke (1998) suggests that two paradigms are central to African-American assimilation and Identity, one of which is Pan-Africanism. This paradigm suggests that the current social crisis of Black America can be resolved by strengthening Pan-Africanism. The focus of this paradigm is to sustain "a viable Pan-African relationship as a strategy against threats posed by the political and cultural dominance of white Americans and Europeans" (Adeleke, 1998, p. 280).

Pan-African representatives encourage mutual appreciation and understanding of shared historical experiences, values and interests as a way to facilitate better acculturation (Adeleke, 1998). The model encourages unity among African-Americans in a struggle to overcome among other things, wounds from slavery, colonialism and prejudice and racism, and all occurrences that have fed social disparity. The idea is that cooperation can lead to increased recognition acceptance and unity. Pan-Africanism however may also be seen as contrary to acculturation, as it seeks to strengthen Afro centricity and traditionalist African values. It suggests that Africa is the best source of self-definition for African-American's and identity for Blacks living in the United States (Adeleke, 1998).

Assimilation is negative if it encourages blacks to lose their sense of history, heritage and identity. This creates a vulnerable state where social chaos dominates. Subordination and marginalization often results. Pan-African ideals may seem to counter assimilation. They actually encourage cultural recognition and acceptance. Any individual that is able to recognize and appreciate his or her own culture is more likely to contribute to society at large.

Creating a more unified self-identity will only help African-Americans adapt rather than assimilate to American culture and feel more at home regardless of their physical location. The resulting pride and self-confidence may help create more acceptance by white and European-Americans, creating a society that welcomes African cultures equally with others.


Adeleke, T. (1998). "Black Americans, Africa and history: A reassessment of the Pan-

African and identity paradigms." The Western Journal of Black Studies, 22(3): 182.

Parenti, M. (1978) Power and the Powerless, New York: St. Martins Press

Young,… [read more]

African-Americans Term Paper

… Indeed, it has been shown that the Spanish-speaking population and especially the recent refugees to the United States are not properly represented in the English-speaking media and, most often, the information presenting the Hispanic community is distorted and mishandled.

The reason for this is quite simple and often relies on the newcomers' inability to react and respond to the media aggression. Otherwise, it is also linked to the general manipulation that immigrant societies encounter, as they are made responsible as a crime potential factor, as being the poorest minority group in the United States.

Articles like Dr. Huerta's also examine, as in the previous case referring to the African-American community, the state of health in the Hispanic community, the specific health problems and, especially, those related to economic issues (in terms of insured vs. uninsured). As pointed previously, the Hispanic community is by far the poorest in the United States. This means that 35% of the total of the 35 million Hispanics living in the U.S. have no health insurance

. 12 million people will go to see a doctor without having the insurance that would pay the bill.

In this sense, we may assert that the presence of the Hispanic community in the news is aimed at drawing the public's attention towards serious issues this community faces, somewhat similar to the African-American community.


1. African-Americans Should Take More Responsibility in Fight Against HIV / AIDS, National Conference Speakers Say. March 2005. On the Internet at

2. Spriggs, William. African-Americans and Social Security. Dollars & Senses. Issue #256, November/December 2004. On the Internet at


4. Study: Hispanics a Key News Target. On the Internet at

5. Huerta, Elmer. Cancer Statistics for Hispanics, 2003: Good News, Bad News, and the Need for a Health System Paradigm Change. American Cancer Society. 2003. On the Internet at

African-Americans Should Take More Responsibility in Fight Against HIV / AIDS, National Conference Speakers Say. March 2005. On the Internet at


Spriggs, William. African-Americans and Social Security. Dollars & Senses. Issue #256, November/December 2004. On the Internet at

Key results online at

Study: Hispanics a Key News Target. On the Internet at

Huerta, Elmer. Cancer Statistics for Hispanics, 2003: Good News, Bad News, and the Need for a Health System Paradigm Change. American Cancer Society. 2003. On the Internet at

Ibid. [read more]

Malcolm X's Contributions Essay

… also rejected Malcolm X's rhetoric without offering a closer examination of what the Nation of Islam leaders were trying to say. "All Mr. Muhammad is doing is trying to uplift the black man's mentality and the black man's social and economic condition in this country," Malcolm X states (Chapter 14).

Both Dr. King and Malcolm X grew up in a climate of racism; Malcolm X's father died by white supremacists. Therefore, it would not seem that the two leaders would develop divergent approaches to the subject of social justice and political change. Their respective approaches are different because unlike Martin Luther King, Malcolm X remained deeply cognizant of the structural issues that prevented equality, which could not necessarily be erased with integration. Integration, for Malcolm X, would lead only to an Uncle Tom mentality, in which the black person would be "whitewashed." Malcolm X rejected whitewashing, preferring to develop a unique black identity that transcended the dominant culture. His cultivation of a pan-African identity, his affection for Islam, and his rejection of vestiges of colonialism, all make Malcolm X's rhetoric reminiscent of that of W.E.B. DuBois, just cloaked in the language of a new generation. DuBois's language makes full use of the scholar's erudite background, but both say mainly the same things. Blacks in America develop a double-consciousness, as DuBois pointed out. The African-American double-consciousness is injurious, and therefore it is preferable to rise above it all.

In spite of their vastly different upbringings, and their being raised in different historical epochs, Malcolm X and W.E.B. DuBois shared much in common in terms of worldview and mentality. Malcolm X, however, wrote from the perspective of a self-described street urchin. DuBois was from a cultured background, but he never let his higher education in the bleached ivory towers prevent him from devoting his resources toward the understanding of the sociology of racism and the "souls of black folk." Malcolm X brought most of DuBois's ideas into popular culture.

Works Cited

King, Martin Luther, Jr. "Letter from a Birmingham Jail." Retrieved online:

Malcolm X The Autobiography of Malcolm X Digital version: [read more]

Higher Education for African-American Youth Application Essay

… ¶ … Higher Education for African-American Youth

In order to understand the significance of higher education for African-American youth relative to youths in general, one must have an understanding of the tremendous educational disparity that continues to exist in modern America. Many people naively adhere to the idea that equality of public educational opportunity translates into equal educations, without looking at the historical differences in educational opportunity and how they continue to impact modern African-Americans. The reality is that education is very cyclical in its nature; illiterate and sub-literate parents literally lack the tool to teach their children. Moreover, because a higher education is correlated with higher earning power, many poorly educated parents lack the financial wherewithal to pay someone for tutoring and other services that would place their children on equal footing with higher income children. Given the overrepresentation of African-Americans in the lower socioeconomic class, this problem, while not a uniquely black phenomenon, has a disproportionate impact on the black community. Therefore, higher educations for African-Americans can have a very significant impact on the black community.

Worldwide, poverty is linked to a lack of education, and this connection exists for many reasons, but is largely due to impoverished parents lacking the financial resources to send their children to school. Even when public schools are available, impoverished families may need their children in the workforce, earning money, rather than attending school. However, in America, there is an additional component to educational disparity that goes beyond financial disparity: the history of denying educational opportunities to African-Americans. For example, when slavery in the United States first began, and people of all racial backgrounds were likely to be involved in some type of chattel relationship, whether as a bond-servant, an indentured servant, or a slave, it was not uncommon for slaves to receive some type of rudimentary education. However, as slavery evolved into a racialized system that further negated rights for free blacks, it became… [read more]

African-American Civil Rights Struggle Term Paper

… And more than that this was regardless of skin color or ethnicity so that once the war ended and people returned home, there was less tension between the two and there was also this awakening of the realization that the… [read more]

African-American Women: Exhibit Review of Claiming Their Essay

… African-American women: Exhibit review of "Claiming Their Citizenship: African-American Women From 1624-2009"

On February 2010, in honor of Black History month, the National Women's History Museum (NWHM) launched the cyberexhibit "Claiming Their Citizenship: African-American Women From 1624-2009." The exhibit reviews the history of African-American women from earliest arrivals of Africans as slaves to today. The essays and historical documents demonstrate how African women resisted slavery ever since the earliest days of European settlers: "One such recorded rebellion occurred in 1721, when an African woman stole weapons and served as lookout for two male slaves who attempted to take over the slave ship Robert" ("Introduction, NWHM, 2010).

By tracing slavery in America before America was founded as a nation, the reasons for the creation and entrenchment of the institution become much clearer. African-Americans replaced white indentured servants because they were easier to capture due their 'non-European' appearance if they escaped. Because African women were used to 'produce' or breed more slaves they often suffered sexual as well as physical abuse.

Even during the early colonial and Revolutionary War era, African-American women distinguished themselves, overcoming formidable social obstacles, such as the poet Phillis Wheatley, whose poetry is featured on the exhibit website. Additionally, in Massachusetts and other northern colonies, many slaves successfully petitioned the courts for their freedom. During the years leading up to the Civil War, northern women's groups were active in supporting the abolitionist movement, and former female slaves such as Sojourner Truth spoke out in favor of both the causes of women's rights and abolitionism. While I had heard of Sojourner Truth and Harriet Tubman, I did not know that one of the first recorded uses of the 'separate but equal' doctrine of Plessy v. Ferguson was employed by the Massachusetts' state supreme court in 1848 when Benjamin Roberts attempted to get his daughter Sarah Roberts admitted to a whites-only school. The first African-American women to earn a degree from an institution of higher learning, Lucy Sessions earned her degree from Oberlin College the same year as the infamous Dred Scott Supreme Court decision declared all slaves to be property. After slavery was abolished, many African-American women migrated to the north, and the White Rose Mission of free black journalist Victoria Earle Matthews,… [read more]

Historical Progression of African Americans Thesis

… ¶ … Progression of African-Americans

Matters seemed to be looking up for African-Americans consequent to the Civil War period. Not only had the government become more tolerant towards them, but they were granted equal rights to white people, thus preventing… [read more]

African-American Leaders in the 1950s the Student Thesis

… ¶ … African-American

Leaders in the 1950s

The student leaders that emerged in America during the 1950s were standing on the ground that African-Americans deserved the same rights as other Americans. The mood was ripe for change as Rosa Parks began the spark of this movement when she refused to give her seat on a bus. Another issue that created momentum in this movement was the Brown v. Board of Education ruling. These events marked a collective change in African-Americans because they realized that they could accomplish things and see results. It should be noted that these attitudes and movements were not readily accepted. One year after the Brown ruling, a "Southern Manifesto" (Davidson 1144) materialized, urging individuals to use "all lawful means" (1144) to fight this ruling and the results of it. These student leaders were not simply protesting in the way we recognize it today, they were fighting a consciousness that deemed them unworthy. This fact makes them unique and heroic.

Student leaders were successful during this time because, as it is with almost every generation, college students are influential and highly energetic. They are also idealistic. These elements combined allowed for fertile soil in the growth of the civil rights movement. Passion and protest are common to college campuses but what makes the civil rights movement so spectacular is that it wanted to grow and be known for its nonviolence. Small groups were formed with handfuls of people wanting only one thing -- equal treatment. Student leaders had college campuses on which to mobilize people and set them forth. Students lead the way because they are passionate. They are still young enough to believe in change and they have the energy to do something about. Students are not bound to jobs and families like older citizens are. In a sense, they had more freedom to mobilize campaigns. Word travels fast on college campuses and large groups of people can speak out. For example, many students participated… [read more]

Historical Progression of African Americans Thesis

… Progress of African-Americans

Historical Progress of African-Americans

"Progress of African-Americans…"

"Progress of African-Americans Through Time"

The historical progress of African-Americans has been peppered with both successes and obstacles. Yet, as we have seen through the development of this course, broken… [read more]

African Americans During the 1950s Research Proposal

… African-American Families 1950s AB

Annotated Bibliography

African-American Families in the 1950s

Primary Sources

Lorraine Hansberry, 1992 (Screenplay) a Raisin in the Sun Los Angles CA: Columbia Pictures

Industries Inc.

The screenplay associated with the 1961 film a Raisin in the… [read more]

African-American Literature Term Paper

… ¶ … African-American literature. Specifically it will discuss several key points in slave history, including the effect of slavery on the writers and their families. As these slave narratives clearly show, the period of American slavery was a bleak time… [read more]

African-American History What Was the Philosophy Term Paper

… African-American History

What was the philosophy that informed African-American campaign and why was it so effective?

The American Civil Rights Movement was the movement which was started by the African-Americans in the South for gaining equality. The movement symbolizes a… [read more]

African-Americans Are Second Term Paper

… These blacks were displaced by highways constructed under the National Highway Act of 1956. Other municipal improvements included the Pittsburgh Civic Arena, which displaced hundreds of poor black families living in the area in an attempt to improve the neighborhood.… [read more]

African-Americans: Anthropological Survey of Tradition, Culture Essay

… African-Americans: Anthropological Survey of Tradition, Culture, And Habits

African-Americans are often perceived as possessing a unique social status in American history. Although America is a nation of immigrants, African-Americans are the only immigrants who were forcibly migrated to the nation as slaves. Unlike white indentured servants, African-Americans were turned into a deliberately enslaved caste of people, identified by their perceived 'race.' Unlike other immigrant groups who formed ethnic enclaves in urban locations, African-American's cultural affiliations with their various original African lands were deliberately destroyed, in an effort to make their enslavement more manageable for their 'owners.' Africans appropriated European Christianity, songs, and other cultural norms as vehicles of liberation and formed a unique culture that has been called the only truly 'American' culture.

Slavery was present in all of early America, but it became a particularly entrenched institution in the South, where prejudice and discrimination against African-Americans became a source of self-definition for many whites. With the invention of the cotton gin, slavery also became wildly profitable, and the nation was torn asunder, at least in part, because of conflicts over slavery.

The enslaved status of African-Americans was a profound challenge to the notion of America as place of justice liberty. African-Americans, from slavery onward would stress the hypocrisy between the American ideal of freedom and democracy for all, and their inability to enjoy such institutions. Even after formal emancipation, African-Americans continued to experience discrimination in the north and south. African-American schools were segregated, either by law or because of where African-Americans were forced to live, and this resulted in fewer opportunities and reduced economic power in the rapidly industrializing nation. The African-American family had often been separated, due to slavery, and many families were broken once again as fathers were forced to leave and… [read more]

Black Fiction the African-American Experience as Seen Research Paper

… Black Fiction

The African-American Experience as Seen through Twentieth Century Short Stories

The "African-American experience" is something authors and scholars of many racial, ethnic, and cultural backgrounds and a variety of historical and political perspectives, as well have tried to define. None of these definitions or explanations has found a real permanent or universal resonance, however -- not in the literary and scholarly communities or in the larger African-American community itself. The reason for this is quite clear, and quite straightforward: there is no single shared experience of African-Americans, but rather this overall and collective experience is a conglomeration of many different separate and distinct experiences, as uniquely and individually colored as the persons that lived them. No race, ethnicity, or culture can actually be said to have a unified experience, especially across generations and historical epochs and even within generations and time periods; it is specious to suggest that there is an "African-American experience" that is somehow cohesive.

The multitude of different experiences, values, perspectives, and personalities that make up the "African-American experience," such as it exists, can be seen quite clearly in the literature produced by twentieth century African-Americans. Even the works of one single author can reflect a diverse array of experiences from within the larger African-American community, when that author is skilled enough to perceive and accurately render the people and situations seen in this community. This paper will examine three short stories by James Alan McPherson and one by Eugene C. Flinn, a white author that tells another side of the "African-American experience." Through these short stories, the diversity of experiences and the richness of the African-American community is clearly communicated.

"The Faithful" is from one of McPherson's most celebrated short story collections, 1977's Elbow Room. In this tale, a proud barber preaches his disapproval of the changes he sees in the upcoming generation, while at the same time this wave of change is shown to be largely positive and moving towards the integration desired by so many for so long. This demonstrates the way in which success for certain values, customs, and perspectives comes at the cost of other values and traditions; there is no perfect way to crate equality between different cultures and peoples, and the different experiences of the African-American community necessarily create some level of internal conflict that makes external progress difficult even if it remains inexorable. This also shows the juxtaposition of different sets of values and beliefs in the community.

Another popular story form the same collection is "A Loaf of Bread." In this story, McPherson deals with another business owner, but one very different to the barber in "The Faithful." This man owns three grocery stores, and he charges higher prices at his store in the African-American neighborhood than he does for the exact same items in white neighborhoods. He rationalizes this as best as he can for as long as he can, but ultimately he… [read more]

Connect the African Cultural Roots Term Paper

… 4. Briefly describe places of cultural significance (Specific museums/events/locations) to study contributors and movements involved in Black intellectual and political recognition/emancipation.

The Washington Monument may seem like the most obvious locale, as it is the physical location of Martin Luther King's famous "I have a dream," speech. Yet far more profound might be the ordinary experiences chronicled in The National Afro-American Museum in Wilberforce, OH. There, there is a "Permanent Exhibit: From Victory To Freedom: Afro-American Life in the Fifties," that chronicles the bravery of ordinary African-Americans during the civil rights movement and the struggle to move what was still seen as the promised land of the industrialized North. In August 200 at that same museum, devoted to the African-American experience, there was a "Temporary Exhibit: The Legacy of American Slavery," that attempted to connect this second journey to the first, of African-Americans fleeing the South.

Question 5 Link between intellectual inquiry and community service and development in African-American Culture. What kinds of community service opportunities are available to connect African-American Culture to a non-African-American seeking to understand Afro centricity? RE: African/American Indian (Seminole Tribe) Cultural development with some traditional African Cultural blending.

Community service may be used to create bonds within community members, but also build bridges and create understanding between different communities. American Indians of the Seminole tribes, long ago in the national past, engaged in economic trade and activities, such as intermarriage, that created ties between these oppressed groups. Afro centric identification is another connection between Indian and African-Americans, however, because both groups have attempted to recreate fallen nations upon the land, in different fashions, after the linguistic ties and cultural bonds were dissolved through the now-dominant European culture's oppression.

Question 6. Seek practical solutions to major challenges and controversial issues facing African-American Studies.

Recently, because of perceived marginalization by the President of the higher institution of learning Harvard University, noted African-American scholar Cornel West returned to Princeton. However, personal slights are often the least of what African-American professors and students must face, when trying to deal with the studies of the community within the university. What is African, what is American, and how to render this study academic as well as personal, are all controversial challenges. African-American studies will always be a fluid discipline, because of the need to constantly redefine what is Black, African, much less American -- yet this constant sense of redefining is also what makes the discipline uniquely American, as African-Americans have had to rebuilt their culture from their African roots, merging often incongruent African cultures, adopting of other cultural elements into their own from Europe, Native Americans, and others, and thus making their own culture perhaps the most uniquely American of all.

Works Cited

The African-American Museum of Philadelphia: Exploring Africa." Temporary Exhibit, Feb. 2004.

The National Afro-American Museum Wilberforce, OH: Permanent Exhibit: From Victory To Freedom: Afro-American Life in the Fifties and Temporary Exhibit: The Legacy of American Slavery." August 2004.

Seminole Reservation (Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum) Museum: Hollywood Florida.… [read more]

African-American Studies Chapters 9-12 Essay

… 261).

Instead Lincoln's primary objective was the preservation of the Union, and he employed whatever strategies he could to accomplish that. One of those strategies was emancipation, with Lincoln planning to use it to hasten the end of the war and result in restoring the Union. Lincoln clearly prioritized the Union above emancipation when he declared that his "paramount object & #8230;is to save the Union... If I could save the Union without freeing any slave I would do it" (as quoted in Chapter 11, p. 273). Lincoln claimed that he personally wished that "all men, everywhere, could be free" (as quoted in Chapter 11, p, 273), but he was willing to tolerate slavery, racial inequality and maltreatment of blacks, all of which would lead to some skepticism about his views of Blacks.

The Emancipation Proclamation freed only the slaves in states that had seceded and were still in rebellion. The effect of the Proclamation was indeed to shorten the war by eliminating the possibility of aid from Britain or France and by undermining the Confederacy's ability to continue fighting the war (Chapter 11, pp. 274-276).

Question #5: In addition to fighting, what other roles did Blacks take on during the war? What does this tell us?

Blacks participated in a number of non-combat roles during the war by serving as spies, messengers, guides and liberators. Robert Smalls freed himself and 15 other slaves by sailing a Confederate supply ship to freedom beyond the Charleston harbor. Harriet Tubman was responsible for organizing a spy ring and an expedition that destroyed plantations and freed nearly 800 slaves in South Carolina. Other Blacks transmitted military intelligence, provided sketches and maps of Confederate fortifications, and served as guides (Chapter 11, pp. 286-287). Clearly Blacks showed courage, dedication, and cunning in their efforts to advance the Union cause and secure their own freedom and the freedom of others.

Works Cited

Bordewich, F. (2005, July 27). Underground Railroad: Myth & reality. Retrieved January 18, 2012 from:

Scholastic Inc. (2012). Myths of the Underground Railroad. Retrieved… [read more]

Black Films as a Reflection of the Progress of African-American Culture Essay

… Black Films as a Reflection of the Progress of African-American Society

From the first African slave to set foot on American soil, to the election of Barack Obama, there has been a tremendous metamorphosis of the African-American community's stature within… [read more]

African-Americans Term Paper

… He was shot while standing on the balcony of the Lorraine Motel in Memphis, Tennessee on April 4, 1968. King was only 39 at the time of his death

Described as "one of the most courageous persons the Civil Rights Movement ever produced," John Lewis has dedicated his life to protecting human rights, securing personal dignity and building what he calls "The Beloved Community." He has displayed a sense of ethics and morality that has won him the admiration of many of his colleagues in the United States Congress. Despite his youth, John Lewis became a recognizedPRIVATE "TYPE=PICT;ALT=John Lewis" leader in the Civil Rights Movement. By 1963, he was recognized as one of the "Big Six" leaders of the Civil Rights Movement. Lewis, at the age of 23, was one of the planners and a keynote speaker at the historic "March on Washington" in August 1963.

Philip Randolph stepped into the limelight and became a very visible national spokesperson for African-American rights in the 1940s and 1950s. He focused his attention on the rising number of blacks on relief and the number of defense industry jobs that were increasing with the war effort heating up. These jobs traditionally excluded blacks. Randolph proposed the March on Washington - a mass action protest to demand change. He was also a great leader and helped the Blacks get their freedom.

James Farmer was also a great black leader and his efforts paid seed into the black freedom movement although he himself could never see through to the end of his dream. Rather than become an ordained Methodist minister, Farmer, who told his father he would rather fight that church's policy of segregated congregations, chose instead to go to work for the Fellowship of Reconciliation (FOR). Farmer was FOR's secretary for race relations, helping the Quaker, pacifist organization craft its responses to such social ills as war, violence, bigotry, and poverty.

Information on the leaders from:… [read more]

Slavery the Emancipation of Slaves Research Paper

… Several criminological and sociological theories can be used to explain "black crime." Durkheim's concept of anomie, the erosion of social norms, was one result of peonage and its similar racist institutions. Likewise, strain theory can easily account for the manifestation of "black crime" in the Untied States. An oppressed culture evolves in opposition to the dominant culture, rejects the norms of the dominant culture, but has no institutions or structures in place to create a constructive response to oppression. A similar situation plays itself out all over the world, where oppressed communities struggle to find strong leadership and a cohesive means by which to achieve economic, political, and social power.

Slavery by Another Name is a powerful documentary that rounds out an understanding of American history. We like to brush under the historical rug things like peonage and other dark and dirty secrets. Yet the information is already out there. There are still people alive who lived under the tyranny of slavery under a new name. Their stories, coupled with dutiful scholarly research, reveal the nefarious nature of racism and how it manifested in American society. Criminologists can point to various theories to explain the various correlations between race and incarceration, and most of those theories are probably correct, including labeling theory, anomie, and strain theory. The peonage story is only one chapter in the way African-Americans have been systematically enslaved on physical, psychological, cultural, political, and economic levels.


"Becker," (n.d.). FSU Criminology. Retrieved online:

Chesnutt, C.W. (1904). Peonage, or the new slavery. In Voice of the Negro, 1 (Sept. 1904): 394-97

Cutler, J. (2012). PBS doc shines light on shameful period in American history. Zaptoit. Retrieved online:,0,7916225.story

Slavery by Another Name. [Documentary Film]. PBS. 2012.

Society in Reconstruction (n.d.). Retrieved online:

Wagner, N.O. (2012). Slavery by Another Name history background. Retrieved online: [read more]

African-American History 1865 Present Essay

… Black History

Certainly, this early phase in what we would call the modern civil rights movement was dominated like individuals such as Martin Luther King Jr. They worked for rights for African-Americans and many for integration. To begin with, individual and small group organizing and planning happed. Their methods were legal and passive. However, they were far from a united front. But they were totally united behind the principles of non-violence as a maxim in what they did. It is impossible for this author in this short essay to do justice to the broad spectrum of individuals that made miracles happen, but tragically were not totally successful. In that vein, we will examine a case study of the relationship that developed between Dr. King and his attorney Clarence Jones with regard to the motion of that relationship. It captures so much of the splits in the civil rights movement, but also the things that united disparate people to crusade for equal rights for blacks (Jones, 2008).

Jones was not initially involved at all, but was tapped by King because of his skills to work on behalf of King and the SCLC. Jones had gone to Los Angeles as a copyright attorney. One of the last immediate things on his radar screen was fighting for civil rights. He was simply happy to have a comfortable income and to have made it out of poverty and to support his family. King inspired him to give to his people through his legal brilliance, helping King in a number of harassment lawsuits against him and as a prominent speech writer. What King encouraged him to do was not to forget where he came and to fight for his people with his talents. The struggle united them in the buildup to the March on Washington, D.C. (ibid.). While one understands the frustrations of Malcolm X with the nonviolence pledge, it accomplished very much.

Question #3

One has to understand Malcolm X, probably more than every other black leader because he truly was in all the places that a black person has been. Like most blacks, his ancestors had been raped by white slaveholders. His name X cried out for the tribal heritage denied to him. He saw his activist father murdered by the Ku Klux Klan and his grieving mother end up in an asylum. He was in poverty, in jail, educated himself and pulled himself up by his shoestrings through his own volition via a religious conversion experience. He even had an epiphany of seeing Muslims of all colors at Mecca to kill his own bigotry and hatred, something that may lead to his own downfall in the end. All of these are the experiences of black people as a whole, unite them and inspire blacks to follow his example through self-improvement to better themselves. However, this is not… [read more]

Racism in Occupations Thesis

… African-Americans in the Field of Medicine: Social, Financial, Institutional, And Psychological Barriers

They call themselves 'the three doctors.' They are three African-American young men from the inner cities of Newark, the children of single mothers, all of whom became doctors.… [read more]

Male Role Models, and African-American Juvenile Violence Research Proposal

… ¶ … Male Role Models, and African-American Juvenile Violence, Karen F. Parker and Amy Reckdenwald build upon current research regarding African-Americans, especially those in urban situations, to find that traditional male roll models decrease at-risk African-American youth's probability of becoming involved in juvenile violence. Drawing primarily upon the work of Elijah Anderson -- Code of the Street: Decency, Violence, and the Moral Life of the Inner-City, Parker and Reckdenwald were motivated to conduct the test in order to test the "generality of Anderson's claims more broadly and explore the potential connection between his work and the macrolevel research on urban violence" (711). Thus, the purpose of this study was not only to test the applicability of Anderson's theory, but also to determine how black, male role models affect the "concentration of urban disadvantage" and the likely hood to become involved in violence among juveniles in the inner city. Thus, the author's research question can be summarized by the following statement: Are Anderson's findings that the presence of male role models decreases violence among African-American juveniles applicable to a general host of inner-city youth?

Parker and Reckdenwald begin to answer this question with a review of literature that does not simply contain Anderson. Instead, the literature review discusses poverty concentration and urban poverty, racism and racial segregation, and social structures that maintained the cycle of disadvantage among African-Americans (713). Beyond the literature review, the authors go on to define what a role model is, concluding with Anderson's assessment of families in two categories, as "street" and "decent," and that a role model is an African-American male with such characteristics as "employment, community responsibility, and responsibilities as fathers and husbands" (715-716). Expounding on further research and accepting this definition, the authors go on to construct their study, which occurred in United States cities with… [read more]

Slavery Today, an African-American Man Is Running Essay

… Slavery

Today, an African-American man is running for presidential office under the umbrella of the Democratic Party. Fifty years ago, the Democratic Party was the party of slavery and segregation -- how things have changed. Yet the attitudes that validated… [read more]

Legacy of African-American Slavery Term Paper

… Legacy of African-American Slavery in the United States

The era of African-American slavery in the United States was relatively short-lived and yet it has produced an enduring and lasting legacy. As labor systems go, one of the most inefficient of… [read more]

Sampling Strategy and Sample Size Research Paper

… V. Sample Size in Relation to Population Size

Affecting the sample size in relation to the population rate will be the response and refusal rates. The response rate is the percentage of the portion of individuals included in the sampling in this study compared to the number of individuals that the study desires to include. To motivate the response rate in this study an incentive will be offered in the form of a gift certificate to a local restaurant for dinner for two. Those who participate in the study will receive the gift certificate upon completion of the study.

VI. Summary

This study focuses on the extent to which African-American men who live in an urban setting exhibit aggressive behavior due to early development factors associated with depression and who have received a diagnosis at local medical facilities of conduct disorder as opposed to depression. The sampling method utilized in this quantitative study will be a non-probability convenience volunteer sampling in which study participants will be targeted through flyers that invite their participation in this research study.

The response rate will be motivated in this study through an incentive and specifically a gift certificate for dinner for two in a local restaurant, which will be given to participants upon completion of the study. The study will require that participants in this study review and sign an authorization and consent for use of the information gained in this study for publication in research journals or other publications reporting this study. The representation of the population chosen in this study will be dependent upon the response rate of potential participants and cannot be estimated presently.

Works Cited

Hunt, Kendall (2009) Sampling. Davis/Gallardo's Straight Talk About Communication Research Methods. 1st Edition. Retrieved from: [read more]

African-American History 1865 to the Present Essay

… ¶ … reconstruction were disappointing in that they did not complete the liberation of Blacks in the wake of the Civil War. While the 13th Amendment abolished slavery and the 14th Amendment guaranteed citizenship to blacks, many of the hard-won gains of blacks who fought during the War were lost in concessions by President Andrew Johnson as he gave lands back to pardoned Southern former Confederates. Not only such former Confederates were given back land and pardoned, but land that had been given to freed Blacks were confiscated and given back to Whites who came back (D. Hine, W. Hine & S. Harold (Eds.), 2010, 311-312).

With the rollback of the gains of freed blacks who had received land came Jim Crow laws that limited Blacks access to voting and forced them to sign labor contracts with White owners. Unfortunately, it was largely a failure from the view of abolitionists and blacks. It was a success for the South and the North because they saw compromise on black emancipation as healing the rift between North and South (ibid., 339-340).. Frankly, Reconstruction should not have been hard. The hangmen's noose for higher ranking Confederates might have scared them into surrender. Johnson's policies only encouraged their violence.

Question #3

Lynching was associated with re-institution of White supremacy in the South after 1865 and the end of the Civil War. The initial granting of civil rights to Black under Reconstruction era raised anxieties amongst white. They came to blame blacks for their wartime hardships, losses and reduced status. Blacks and Whites who were activists were often lynched in the South during this time. As shown already in the first essay question, to explain the outbreak of lynching across the South after Reconstruction, one needs to see that the administration of President Andrew Johnson who had made it quite apparent by his pro-Confederate policies that he had absolutely no intention (ibid., 311-312).

With no prominent Confederates being substantially punished for their war crimes, there was no break on lynching. Whites justified it as a way to save Southern culture, keep the Blacks in their place, prevent the mixing of the races and a number of other issues. The rise of Ku Klux Klan came directly out of this maelstrom (ibid, 333-335). Anti-lynching really got a successful start under W.E.B. DuBois whose NAACP in the 1920's helped to combat lynching by publishing the facts by organizing support for a national campaign against the atrocity (DuBois, 2010).

Question #4-

In the case of W.E.B. Dubois, he understood the nature of education as an instrument of repression to blacks. What is especially prescient about this is his insightful view of education for poor working class whites as an instrument of propaganda to justify prejudice. However,… [read more]

Unethical Labor Practices in the Fire Department for African Americans Term Paper

… Unethical labor practices in the fire department for African-Americans

Under Fire

Unfortunately, there has been a fairly lenghty history of unethical practices in regards to African-Americans and fire departments in a variety of locations and regions throughout the United States.… [read more]

Gendered Experiences of Racism Being Term Paper

… And because they dropped out of high school in the first place, they have the greatest probability of all, to end up incarcerated, continuing this never-ending cycle that their children will end up falling into (Eckholm 2006).

Although this case is seen among other minority groups as well, such as Latinos and immigrants from Africa, the outcome is not always the same (Swarns 2004). Among Latino males who do not finish high school, the crime, incarceration, and unemployment rates are no where near as high as they are for young African-American males (Eckholm 2006). Even among immigrants from Africa, these rates of criminality and unemployment are not as high as they are for the inner-city urban African-American males. The society in which they grow up in since they were born makes all the difference in this case. Different circumstances are endured and different cultural values are emphasized in African-American young men from the United States, than those who are from Latino or African immigrant decent (Swarns 2004).

It is a very harsh world for the everyday African-American male in the United States. It cannot be an easy thing to go about everyday knowing that the odds are against you succeeding. More likely than not, statistics show that an African-American male will end up in prison instead of at a stable well-paying job. Being a African-American child who grows up knowing this makes it even more difficult to overcome this expectation. Also, the fact that everyone knows that this is a probable outcome, including the police themselves, makes it justifiable to these authority figures that shooting an innocent African-American male was the right thing to do, since the odds that he would have taken out a gun was more probable than him attempting to take out an identification card.


Eckholm, E. (March 20, 2006). Plight deepens for black men: Studies warn. In The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2011, from

Swarns, R.L. (August 29, 2004). 'African-American' becomes a term for debate. In The New York Times. Retrieved August 28, 2011, from [read more]

African-American Vernacular Term Paper

… Origin and Evolution of the African-American Vernacular

It has often been suggested that the so-called "African-American vernacular" is largely attributable to the influence of oral traditions based in sermons and prayer services of black churches. Alternatively, it has also been suggested the African-American vernacular is more a function of secular influences in general and of the music of African-American artists in particular. I would argue, instead, that the contemporary African-American vernacular is a natural result of more general influences that predate both religious and artistic contributions. In that view, the relationship between the African-American vernacular and both religion and secular artistic influences is precisely the reverse. Specifically, neither the religious sermons in black churches nor jazz artists of the early and mid 20th century is responsible for the evolution of the African-American vernacular. Instead, both are actually results rather than causes of an African-American vernacular that predated both and contributed to their evolution and not the other way around.

Likely Historical Origin of the General African-American Vernacular and Accent

The most general and virtually universal aspect of tonal speech patterns and vernacular among American-born African-Americans is simply the domestic southern accent. That should be surprising if it were not the case since the overwhelming majority of the captive African slaves throughout the 18th and 19th centuries lived their entire lives in the southern American states. They learned English and received whatever early socialization they absorbed outside of their families directly from their captors, all citizens of the southern states.

Even the relatively few Free Blacks in the 19th century and those fortunate enough to live in the Free states descended directly from southern-raised slave families and slave owners. To this day, the most significant influence and determinant of the so-called African-American vernacular is no different from its comparable influence among a community of Caucasian-Americans only two or three generations from their "roots," as it were, in the southern states. Moreover, typical southern regional variations are also likely to be discernable to the trained ear among contemporary African-Americans.

Undoubtedly, more than a century of intense racial prejudices and persecution and discrimination ensured that African-Americans of the early and middle of the 20th century interacted as little as possible (or as little as necessary) with the dominant Caucasian populations. That likely resulted in much greater retention of the southern "twang" than among southern Caucasians who migrated North (or elsewhere) at the same time. Southern Caucasians were much freer to assimilate into their adoptive societies and lose their southern accents much more over comparable time periods.

The Influence of Racial Inequality and the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s

Racial inequality and the overt discrimination throughout the first three decades of the 20th century excluded African-Americans from musical careers in… [read more]

Cultural Congruent Hypertension Prevention Strategies for African Americans Literature Review

… AfAm Hypertension

Hypertension in African-Americans: Culturally Significant Risk Factors and Prevention Strategies

It is noted that there exist numerous conditions that affect different ethnic populations with greater degrees of prevalence and intensity. Hypertension is one such disorder, and African-Americans are… [read more]

African-American History Thesis

… ¶ … workings of the sharecropping system, and explain why many African-Americans preferred it to wage labor; explain why so many sharecroppers ended up destitute and tied to a plantation.

The sharecropping system was set up for former African-American slaves… [read more]

African-American Literature the Experience of African-Americans Essay

… African-American Literature

The experience of African-Americans in this country has always been wrought with intense complexity and struggle. Even after the Civil War had destroyed the practice of slavery which kept them legally inferior to the rest of the nation, the experience of being black in American proved most difficult. Some people embraced their heritage, as seen in Zora Neale Hurston's tale "How it Feels to Be a Colored Me," where she sees her differences as a African-American but does not let them define her. However, others were not so lucky, as seen in James Weldon Johnson's tale Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, in which the unnamed author rejects his African-American heritage to live a life passing as a white man, thus enjoying a higher status but at the cost of his true identity.

Hurston's tale begins and ends with the idea that she is different. Yet views these differences in a positive light. It is in her understanding of white Americans that she is first exposed to herself as colored. Although she understands herself as black early on in her hometown, she is fully exposed to what it is to be African-American when she leaves her small town and her individual identity that her town knows her as. In her town, she is Zora, black or not. Outside her town, she is an African-American seemingly with no name. She understands that she is African-American and sees the differences between her condition and that of white Americans she sees riding through her town. This does not phase her, however, and she embraces her heritage, "I AM COLORED but I offer nothing in the way of extenuating circumstances except the fact that I am the only Negro in the United States whose grandfather on the mother's side was not an Indian chief," (Hurston 1). It shows great strength in her character, which develops even further after she is fully exposed to her condition of being black in the South. Rather than allow her condition to define her and place limitations on her life, she harbors no ill will; "BUT I AM NOT tragically colored. There is no great sorrow damned up in my soul, nor lurking behind my eyes," (Hurston 1). Hurston sees herself as African-American, yet sees nothing wrong with it.

However, this is not the case for the unnamed narrator in James Weldon Johnson's Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man. This narrator shows great shame in the fact that he is black. The story begins without his knowledge of his racial heritage, and upon his discovery of it he feels like he is different, somehow negatively affected by the truth of his blood. He… [read more]

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