African-American | Wikipedia audio article

African-American | Wikipedia audio article


African Americans (also referred to as Black
Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry
from any of the black racial groups of Africa. The term typically refers to descendants of
enslaved black people who are from the United States.African Americans constitute the third
largest racial and ethnic group in the United States (after White Americans and Hispanic
and Latino Americans). Most African Americans are descendants of enslaved peoples within
the boundaries of the present United States. On average, African Americans are of West/Central
African and European descent, and some also have Native American ancestry. According to
U.S. Census Bureau data, African immigrants generally do not self-identify as African
American. The overwhelming majority of African immigrants identify instead with their own
respective ethnicities (≈95%). Immigrants from some Caribbean, Central American and
South American nations and their descendants may or may not also self-identify with the
term.African-American history starts in the 16th century, with peoples from West Africa
forcibly taken as slaves to Spanish America, and in the 17th century with West African
slaves taken to English colonies in North America. After the founding of the United
States, black people continued to be enslaved, and the last four million black slaves were
only liberated after the Civil War in 1865. Due to notions of white supremacy, they were
treated as second-class citizens. The Naturalization Act of 1790 limited U.S. citizenship to whites
only, and only white men of property could vote. These circumstances were changed by
Reconstruction, development of the black community, participation in the great military conflicts
of the United States, the elimination of racial segregation, and the civil rights movement
which sought political and social freedom. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African
American to be elected President of the United States.==History=====
Colonial era===The first African slaves arrived via Santo
Domingo to the San Miguel de Gualdape colony (most likely located in the Winyah Bay area
of present-day South Carolina), founded by Spanish explorer Lucas Vázquez de Ayllón
in 1526.The marriage between Luisa de Abrego, a free black domestic servant from Seville
and Miguel Rodríguez, a white Segovian conquistador in 1565 in St. Augustine (Spanish Florida),
is the first known and recorded Christian marriage anywhere in what is now the continental
United States.The ill-fated colony was almost immediately disrupted by a fight over leadership,
during which the slaves revolted and fled the colony to seek refuge among local Native
Americans. De Ayllón and many of the colonists died shortly afterwards of an epidemic and
the colony was abandoned. The settlers and the slaves who had not escaped returned to
Haiti, whence they had come.The first recorded Africans in British North America (including
most of the future United States) were “20 and odd negroes” who came to Jamestown, Virginia
via Cape Comfort in August 1619 as indentured servants. As English settlers died from harsh
conditions, more and more Africans were brought to work as laborers. An indentured servant (who could be white
or black) would work for several years (usually four to seven) without wages. The status of
indentured servants in early Virginia and Maryland was similar to slavery. Servants
could be bought, sold, or leased and they could be physically beaten for disobedience
or running away. Unlike slaves, they were freed after their term of service expired
or was bought out, their children did not inherit their status, and on their release
from contract they received “a year’s provision of corn, double apparel, tools necessary”,
and a small cash payment called “freedom dues”.Africans could legally raise crops and cattle to purchase
their freedom. They raised families, married other Africans and sometimes intermarried
with Native Americans or English settlers. By the 1640s and 1650s, several African families
owned farms around Jamestown and some became wealthy by colonial standards and purchased
indentured servants of their own. In 1640, the Virginia General Court recorded the earliest
documentation of lifetime slavery when they sentenced John Punch, a Negro, to lifetime
servitude under his master Hugh Gwyn for running away.In the Spanish Florida some Spanish married
or had unions with Pensacola, Creek or African women, both slave and free, and their descendants
created a mixed-race population of mestizos and mulattos. The Spanish encouraged slaves
from the southern British colonies to come to Florida as a refuge, promising freedom
in exchange for conversion to Catholicism. King Charles II of Spain issued a royal proclamation
freeing all slaves who fled to Spanish Florida and accepted conversion and baptism. Most
went to the area around St. Augustine, but escaped slaves also reached Pensacola. St.
Augustine had mustered an all-black militia unit defending Spain as early as 1683.One
of the Dutch African arrivals, Anthony Johnson, would later own one of the first black “slaves”,
John Casor, resulting from the court ruling of a civil case.The popular conception of
a race-based slave system did not fully develop until the 18th century. The Dutch West India
Company introduced slavery in 1625 with the importation of eleven black slaves into New
Amsterdam (present-day New York City). All the colony’s slaves, however, were freed upon
its surrender to the British. Massachusetts was the first British colony
to legally recognize slavery in 1641. In 1662, Virginia passed a law that children of enslaved
women (who were of African descent and thus foreigners) took the status of the mother,
rather than that of the father, as under English common law. This principle was called partus
sequitur ventrum.By an act of 1699, the colony ordered all free blacks deported, virtually
defining as slaves all people of African descent who remained in the colony. In 1670, the colonial
assembly passed a law prohibiting free and baptized negroes (and Indians) from purchasing
Christians (in this act meaning English or European whites) but allowing them to buy
people “of their owne nation”.In the Spanish Louisiana although there was no movement toward
abolition of the African slave trade, Spanish rule introduced a new law called coartación,
which allowed slaves to buy their freedom, and that of others. Although some did not
have the money to buy their freedom that government measures on slavery allowed a high number
of free blacks. That brought problems to the Spaniards with the French Creoles who also
populated Spanish Louisiana, French creoles cited that measure as one of the system’s
worst elements. In spite of that, there was a greater number of slaves as the years passed,
as also the entire Spanish Louisiana population increased.
The earliest African-American congregations and churches were organized before 1800 in
both northern and southern cities following the Great Awakening. By 1775, Africans made
up 20% of the population in the American colonies, which made them the second largest ethnic
group after the English.===From the American Revolution to the Civil
War===During the 1770s, Africans, both enslaved
and free, helped rebellious English colonists secure American independence by defeating
the British in the American Revolution. Africans and Englishmen fought side by side and were
fully integrated. Blacks played a role in both sides in the American Revolution. Activists
in the Patriot cause included James Armistead, Prince Whipple and Oliver Cromwell.In the
Spanish Louisiana, Governor Bernardo de Gálvez organized Spanish free blackmen into two militia
companies to defend New Orleans during the American Revolution. They fought in the 1779
battle in which Spain took Baton Rouge from the British. Gálvez also commanded them in
campaigns against the British outposts in Mobile, Alabama, and Pensacola, Florida, he
recruited slaves for the militia by pledging to free anyone who was seriously wounded and
promised to secure a low price for coartación (buy their freedom and that of others) for
those who received lesser wounds. During the 1790s, Governor Francisco Luis Héctor, baron
of Carondelet reinforced local fortifications and recruit even more free blackmen for the
militia. Carondelet doubled the number of free blackmen who served, creating two more
militia companies—one made up of black members and the other of pardo (mixed race). Serving
in the militia brought free blackmen one step closer to equality with whites, allowing them,
for example, the right to carry arms and boosting their earning power. However actually these
privileges distanced free blackmen from enslaved blacks and encouraged them to identify with
whites.Slavery had been tacitly enshrined in the U.S. Constitution through provisions
such as Article I, Section 2, Clause 3, commonly known as the 3/5 compromise. Slavery, which
by then meant almost exclusively African Americans, was the most important political issue in
the antebellum United States, leading to one crisis after another. Among these were the
Missouri Compromise, the Compromise of 1850, the Fugitive Slave Act, and the Dred Scott
decision. Prior to the Civil War, eight serving presidents
owned slaves, a practice protected by the U.S. Constitution. By 1860, there were 3.5
to 4.4 million enslaved blacks in the U.S. due to the Atlantic slave trade, and another
488,000–500,000 African Americans lived free (with legislated limits) across the country.
With legislated limits imposed upon them in addition to “unconquerable prejudice” from
whites according to Henry Clay, some blacks who weren’t enslaved left the U.S. for Liberia
in Africa. Liberia began as a settlement of the American Colonization Society (ACS) in
1821, with the abolitionist members of the ACS believing blacks would face better chances
for freedom and equality in Africa.The slaves not only constituted a large investment, they
produced America’s most valuable product and export: cotton. They not only helped build
the U.S. Capitol, they built the White House and other District of Columbia buildings.
(Washington was a slave trading center.) Similar building projects existed in slaveholding
states. In 1863, during the American Civil War, President
Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation. The proclamation declared that all slaves
in Confederate-held territory were free. Advancing Union troops enforced the proclamation with
Texas being the last state to be emancipated, in 1865. Slavery in Union-held Confederate territory
continued, at least on paper, until the passage of the Thirteenth Amendment in 1865. Prior
to the Civil War, only white men of property could vote, and the Naturalization Act of
1790 limited U.S. citizenship to whites only. The 14th Amendment (1868) gave African-Americans
citizenship, and the 15th Amendment (1870) gave African-American males the right to vote
(only males could vote in the U.S. at the time).===Reconstruction Era and Jim Crow===African Americans quickly set up congregations
for themselves, as well as schools and community/civic associations, to have space away from white
control or oversight. While the post-war Reconstruction era was initially a time of progress for African
Americans, that period ended in 1876. By the late 1890s, Southern states enacted Jim Crow
laws to enforce racial segregation and disenfranchisement. Segregation, which began with slavery, continued
with Jim Crow laws, with signs used to show blacks where they could legally walk, talk,
drink, rest, or eat. For those places that were racially mixed, non whites had to wait
until all white customers were dealt with. Most African Americans obeyed the Jim Crow
laws, in order to avoid racially motivated violence. To maintain self-esteem and dignity,
African Americans such as Anthony Overton and Mary McLeod Bethune continued to build
their own schools, churches, banks, social clubs, and other businesses.In the last decade
of the 19th century, racially discriminatory laws and racial violence aimed at African
Americans began to mushroom in the United States, a period often referred to as the
“nadir of American race relations”. These discriminatory acts included racial segregation—upheld
by the United States Supreme Court decision in Plessy v. Ferguson in 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.===Great migration and civil rights movement
===The desperate conditions of African Americans
in the South sparked the Great Migration during the first half of the 20th century which led
to a growing African-American community in Northern and Western United States. The rapid
influx of blacks disturbed the racial balance within Northern and Western cities, exacerbating
hostility between both blacks and whites in the two regions. The Red Summer of 1919 was
marked by hundreds of deaths and higher casualties across the U.S. as a result of race riots
that occurred in more than three dozen cities, such as the Chicago race riot of 1919 and
the Omaha race riot of 1919. Overall, blacks in Northern and Western cities experienced
systemic discrimination in a plethora of aspects of life. Within employment, economic opportunities
for blacks were routed to the lowest-status and restrictive in potential mobility. Within
the housing market, stronger discriminatory measures were used in correlation to the influx,
resulting in a mix of “targeted violence, restrictive covenants, redlining and racial
steering”. While many whites defended their space with violence, intimidation, or legal
tactics toward African Americans, many other whites migrated to more racially homogeneous
suburban or exurban regions, a process known as white flight.By the 1950s, the civil rights
movement was gaining momentum. A 1955 lynching that sparked public outrage about injustice
was that of Emmett Till, a 14-year-old boy from Chicago. Spending the summer with relatives
in Money, Mississippi, Till was killed for allegedly having wolf-whistled at a white
woman. Till had been badly beaten, one of his eyes was gouged out, and he was shot in
the head. The visceral response to his mother’s decision to have an open-casket funeral mobilized
the black community throughout the U.S. Vann R. Newkirk| wrote “the trial of his killers
became a pageant illuminating the tyranny of white supremacy”. The state of Mississippi
tried two defendants, but they were speedily acquitted by an all-white jury. One hundred
days after Emmett Till’s murder, Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat on the bus in
Alabama—indeed, Parks told Emmett’s mother Mamie Till that “the photograph of Emmett’s
disfigured face in the casket was set in her mind when she refused to give up her seat
on the Montgomery bus.” The March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom
and the conditions which brought it into being are credited with putting pressure on Presidents
John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson. Johnson put his support behind passage of the Civil
Rights Act of 1964 that banned discrimination in public accommodations, employment, and
labor unions, and the Voting Rights Act of 1965, which expanded federal authority over
states to ensure black political participation through protection of voter registration and
elections. By 1966, the emergence of the Black Power movement, which lasted from 1966 to
1975, expanded upon the aims of the civil rights movement to include economic and political
self-sufficiency, and freedom from white authority.During the postwar period, many African Americans
continued to be economically disadvantaged relative to other Americans. Average black
income stood at 54 percent of that of white workers in 1947, and 55 percent in 1962. In
1959, median family income for whites was $5,600, compared with $2,900 for nonwhite
families. In 1965, 43 percent of all black families fell into the poverty bracket, earning
under $3,000 a year. The Sixties saw improvements in the social and economic conditions of many
black Americans.From 1965 to 1969, black family income rose from 54 to 60 percent of white
family income. In 1968, 23 percent of black families earned under $3,000 a year, compared
with 41 percent in 1960. In 1965, 19 percent of black Americans had incomes equal to the
national median, a proportion that rose to 27 percent by 1967. In 1960, the median level
of education for blacks had been 10.8 years, and by the late Sixties the figure rose to
12.2 years, half a year behind the median for whites.===Post–civil rights era===Politically and economically, African Americans
have made substantial strides during the post–civil rights era. In 1989, Douglas Wilder became
the first African American elected governor in U.S. history. Clarence Thomas became the
second African-American Supreme Court Justice. In 1992, Carol Moseley-Braun of Illinois became
the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Senate. There were 8,936 black officeholders
in the United States in 2000, showing a net increase of 7,467 since 1970. In 2001, there
were 484 black mayors.In 2005, the number of Africans immigrating to the United States,
in a single year, surpassed the peak number who were involuntarily brought to the United
States during the Atlantic Slave Trade. On November 4, 2008, Democratic Senator Barack
Obama defeated Republican Senator John McCain to become the first African American to be
elected president. At least 95 percent of African-American voters voted for Obama. He
also received overwhelming support from young and educated whites, a majority of Asians,
Hispanics, and Native Americans picking up a number of new states in the Democratic electoral
column. Obama lost the overall white vote, although he won a larger proportion of white
votes than any previous nonincumbent Democratic presidential candidate since Jimmy Carter.
Obama was reelected for a second and final term, by a similar margin on November 6, 2012.==Demographics==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 Civil War, the African-American population had increased
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. Large numbers began migrating north looking for better job opportunities and living
conditions, and to escape Jim Crow laws and 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 Sun Belt than leaving it.The following table of
the African-American population in the United States over time shows that the African-American
population, as a percentage of the total population, declined until 1930 and has been rising since
then. 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.At the time of the 2000 Census, 54.8% of African Americans lived in the South.
In that year, 17.6% of African Americans lived in the Northeast and 18.7% in the Midwest,
while only 8.9% 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, Puerto Rican, Dominican, Cuban,
Haitian, or other Latin American descent. The only self-reported ancestral groups larger
than African Americans are the Irish and Germans.According to the 2010 U.S. Census, nearly 3% of people
who self-identified as black had recent ancestors who immigrated from another country. Self-reported
non-Hispanic black immigrants from the Caribbean, mostly from Jamaica and Haiti, represented
0.9% of the U.S. population, at 2.6 million. Self-reported black immigrants from Sub-Saharan
Africa also represented 0.9%, at about 2.8 million. Additionally, self-identified Black
Hispanics represented 0.4% of the United States population, at about 1.2 million people, largely
found within the Puerto Rican and Dominican communities. Self-reported black immigrants
hailing from other countries in the Americas, such as Brazil and Canada, as well as several
European countries, represented less than 0.1% of the population. Mixed-Race Hispanic
and non-Hispanic Americans who identified as being part black, represented 0.9% of the
population. Of the 12.6% of United States residents who identified as black, around
10.3% were “native black American” or ethnic African Americans, who are direct descendants
of West/Central Africans brought to the U.S. as slaves. These individuals make up well
over 80% of all blacks in the country. When including people of mixed-race origin, about
13.5% of the U.S. population self-identified as black or “mixed with black”. However, according
to the U.S. census bureau, evidence from the 2000 Census indicates that many African and
Caribbean immigrant ethnic groups do not identify as “Black, African Am., or Negro”. Instead,
they wrote in their own respective ethnic groups in the “Some Other Race” write-in entry.
As a result, the census bureau devised a new, separate “African American” ethnic group category
in 2010 for ethnic African Americans.===U.S. cities===After 100 years of African-Americans leaving
the south in large numbers seeking better opportunities in the west and north, a movement
known as the Great Migration, there is now a reverse trend, called the New Great Migration.
As with the earlier Great Migration, the New Great Migration is primarily directed toward
cities and large urban areas, such as Atlanta, Charlotte, Houston, Dallas, Raleigh, Tampa,
San Antonio, Memphis, Nashville, Jacksonville, and so forth. A growing percentage of African-Americans
from the west and north are migrating to the southern region of the U.S. for economic and
cultural reasons. New York City, Chicago, and Los Angeles have the highest decline in
African Americans, while Atlanta, Dallas, and Houston have the highest increase respectively.Among
cities of 100,000 or more, Detroit, Michigan had the highest percentage of black residents
of any U.S. city in 2010, with 82%. Other large cities with African-American majorities
include Jackson, Mississippi (79.4%), Miami Gardens, Florida (76.3%), Baltimore, Maryland
(63%), Birmingham, Alabama (62.5%), Memphis, Tennessee (61%), New Orleans, Louisiana (60%),
Montgomery, Alabama (56.6%), Flint, Michigan (56.6%), Savannah, Georgia (55.0%), Augusta,
Georgia (54.7%), Atlanta, Georgia (54%, see African Americans in Atlanta), Cleveland,
Ohio (53.3%), Newark, New Jersey (52.35%), Washington, D.C. (50.7%), Richmond, Virginia
(50.6%), Mobile, Alabama (50.6%), Baton Rouge, Louisiana (50.4%), and Shreveport, Louisiana
(50.4%). The nation’s most affluent community with
an African-American majority resides in View Park–Windsor Hills, California with an annual
median income of $159,618. Other largely affluent predominantly African-American communities
include Prince George’s County in Maryland (namely Mitchellville, Woodmore, and Upper
Marlboro), Dekalb County and South Fulton in Georgia, Charles City County in Virginia,
Baldwin Hills in California, Hillcrest and Uniondale in New York, and Cedar Hill, DeSoto,
and Missouri City in Texas. Queens County, New York is the only county with a population
of 65,000 or more where African Americans have a higher median household income than
White Americans.Seatack, Virginia is currently the oldest African-American community in the
United States. It survives today with a vibrant and active civic community.===Education===By 2012, African Americans had advanced greatly
in education attainment. They still lagged overall compared to white or Asian Americans
but surpassed other ethnic minorities, with 19 percent earning bachelor’s degrees and
6 percent earning advanced degrees. Between 1995 and 2009, freshmen college enrollment
for African Americans increased by 73 percent and only 15 percent for whites. Black women
are enrolled in college more than any other race and gender group, leading all with 9.7%
enrolled according to the 2011 U.S. Census Bureau. Predominantly black schools for kindergarten
through twelfth grade students were common throughout the U.S. before the 1970s. By 1972,
however, desegregation efforts meant that only 25% of Black students were in schools
with more than 90% non-white students. However, since then, a trend towards re-segregation
affected communities across the country: by 2011, 2.9 million African-American students
were in such overwhelmingly minority schools, including 53% of Black students in school
districts that were formerly under desegregation orders.Historically black colleges and universities
(HBCUs), which were originally set up when segregated colleges did not admit African
Americans, continue to thrive and educate students of all races today. The majority
of HBCUs were established in the southeastern United States, Alabama has the most HBCUs
of any state.As late as 1947, about one third of African Americans over 65 were considered
to lack the literacy to read and write their own names. By 1969, illiteracy as it had been
traditionally defined, had been largely eradicated among younger African Americans.U.S. Census
surveys showed that by 1998, 89 percent of African Americans aged 25 to 29 had completed
a high-school education, less than whites or Asians, but more than Hispanics. On many
college entrance, standardized tests and grades, African Americans have historically lagged
behind whites, but some studies suggest that the achievement gap has been closing. Many
policy makers have proposed that this gap can and will be eliminated through policies
such as affirmative action, desegregation, and multiculturalism.The average high school
graduation rate of blacks in the United States has steadily increased to 71% in 2013. Separating
this statistic into component parts shows it varies greatly depending upon the state
and the school district examined. 38% of black males graduated in the state of New York but
in Maine 97% graduated and exceeded the white male graduation rate by 11 percentage points.
In much of the southeastern United States and some parts of the southwestern United
States the graduation rate of white males was in fact below 70% such as in Florida where
62% of white males graduated from high school. Examining specific school districts paints
an even more complex picture. In the Detroit school district the graduation rate of black
males was 20% but 7% for white males. In the New York City school district 28% of black
males graduate from high school compared to 57% of white males. In Newark County 76% of
black males graduated compared to 67% for white males. Further academic improvement
has occurred in 2015. Roughly 23% of all blacks have bachelor’s degrees. In 1988, 21% of whites
had obtained a bachelor’s degree versus 11% of blacks. In 2015, 23% of blacks had obtained
a bachelor’s degree versus 36% of whites. Foreign born blacks, 9% of the black population,
made even greater strides. They exceed native born blacks by 10 percentage points.===Economic status===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 marginalisation when considered as a whole.
The racial disparity in poverty rates has narrowed. The black middle class has grown
substantially. In 2010, 45% of African Americans owned their homes, compared to 67% of all
Americans. The poverty rate among African Americans has decreased from 26.5% in 1998
to 24.7% in 2004, compared to 12.7% for all Americans. African Americans have a combined buying power
of over $892 billion currently and likely over $1.1 trillion by 2012. In 2002, African
American-owned businesses accounted for 1.2 million of the US’s 23 million businesses.
As of 2011 African American-owned businesses account for approximately 2 million US businesses.
Black-owned businesses experienced the largest growth in number of businesses among minorities
from 2002 to 2011.In 2004, African-American men had the third-highest earnings of American
minority groups after Asian Americans and non-Hispanic whites.Twenty-five percent of
blacks had white-collar occupations (management, professional, and related fields) in 2000,
compared with 33.6% of Americans overall. 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.In 2006, the median earnings of African-American men was
more than black and non-black American women overall, and in all educational levels. 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.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. 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.The U.S. public sector is the single most important source
of employment for African Americans. During 2008–2010, 21.2% of all Black workers were
public employees, compared with 16.3% of non-Black workers. Both before and after the onset of
the Great Recession, African Americans were 30% more likely than other workers to be employed
in the public sector.The public sector is also a critical source of decent-paying jobs
for Black Americans. For both men and women, the median wage earned by Black employees
is significantly higher in the public sector than in other industries.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 Statistics unemployment
figures. Nationwide, the October 2008 unemployment rate for African Americans was 11.1%, while
the nationwide rate was 6.5%.The income gap between black and white families is also significant.
In 2005, employed blacks earned 65% of the wages of whites, down from 82% in 1975. 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.In 2011, it was reported that 72% of
black babies were born to unwed mothers. 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 respective rates were 26.4% and 6% in poverty.
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. African Americans collectively
attain higher levels of education than immigrants to the United States. African Americans also
have the highest level of Congressional representation of any minority group in the U.S.===Politics===
A large majority of African Americans support the Democratic Party. In the 2004 Presidential
Election, Democrat John Kerry received 88% of the African-American vote compared to 11%
for Republican George W. Bush. Although there is an African-American lobby in foreign policy,
it has not had the impact that African-American organizations have had in domestic policy.Many
African Americans were excluded from electoral politics in the decades following the end
of Reconstruction. For those that could participate, until the New Deal, African Americans were
supporters of the Republican Party because it was Republican President Abraham Lincoln
who helped in granting freedom to American slaves; at the time, the Republicans and Democrats
represented the sectional interests of the North and South, respectively, rather than
any specific ideology, and both conservative and liberal were represented equally in both
parties. The African-American trend of voting for Democrats
can be traced back to the 1930s during the Great Depression, when Franklin D. Roosevelt’s
New Deal program provided economic relief to African Americans. Roosevelt’s New Deal
coalition turned the Democratic Party into an organization of the working class and their
liberal allies, regardless of region. The African-American vote became even more solidly
Democratic when Democratic presidents John F. Kennedy and Lyndon B. Johnson pushed for
civil rights legislation during the 1960s. In 1960, nearly a third of African Americans
voted for Republican Richard Nixon.===Health===The life expectancy for Black men in 2008
was 70.8 years. Life expectancy for Black women was 77.5 years in 2008. In 1900, when
information on Black life expectancy started being collated, a Black man could expect to
live to 32.5 years and a Black woman 33.5 years. In 1900, White men lived an average
of 46.3 years and White women lived an average of 48.3 years. African-American life expectancy
at birth is persistently five to seven years lower than European Americans.Black people
have higher rates of obesity, diabetes and hypertension than the U.S. average. For adult
Black men, the rate of obesity was 31.6% in 2010. For adult Black women, the rate of obesity
was 41.2% in 2010. African Americans have higher rates of mortality than does any other
racial or ethnic group for 8 of the top 10 causes of death. In 2013, among men, black
men had the highest rate of getting cancer, followed by white, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific
Islander (A/PI), and American Indian/Alaska Native (AI/AN) men. Among women, white women
had the highest rate of getting cancer, followed by black, Hispanic, Asian/Pacific Islander,
and American Indian/Alaska Native women. Violence has an impact upon African-American
life expectancy. A report from the U.S. Department of Justice states “In 2005, homicide victimization
rates for blacks were 6 times higher than the rates for whites”. The report also found
that “94% of black victims were killed by blacks.”According to the Centers for Disease
Control and Prevention, African-Americans also have higher rated of sexually transmitted
infections (STIs), with 5 times the rates of of syphilis and chlamydia, and 7.5 times
the rate of gonorrhea, as compared to whites.AIDS is one of the top three causes of death for
African-American men aged 25–54 and for African-American women aged 35–44 years.
In the United States, African Americans make up about 48% of the total HIV-positive population
and make up more than half of new HIV cases. The main route of transmission for women is
through unprotected heterosexual sex. African-American women are 19 times more likely to contract
HIV than other women.Washington, D.C. has the nation’s highest rate of HIV/AIDS infection,
at 3%. This rate is comparable to what is seen in West Africa, and is considered a severe
epidemic. Dr. Ray Martins, Chief Medical Officer at the Whitman-Walker Clinic, the largest
provider of HIV care in Washington D.C., estimated that the actual underlying percent with HIV/AIDS
in the city is “closer to five percent”.Although in the last decade black youth have had lower
rates of cannabis (marijuana) consumption than whites of the same age, they have disproportionately
higher arrest rates than whites: in 2010, for example, blacks were 3.73 times as likely
to get arrested for using cannabis than whites, despite not significantly more frequently
being users.===Sexuality===
According to a Gallup survey, 4.6% of Black or African-Americans self-identified as LGBT
in 2016, while the total portion of American adults in all ethnic groups identifying as
LGBT was 4.1% in 2016. The disproportionately high incidence of HIV/AIDS among African-Americans
has been attributed to homophobic attitudes.==Genetics=====
Genome-wide studies===Recent surveys of African Americans using
a genetic testing service have found varied ancestries which show different tendencies
by region and sex of ancestors. These studies found that on average, African Americans have
73.2–82.1% West African, 16.7%–24% European, and 0.8–1.2% Native American genetic ancestry,
with large variation between individuals. Genetics websites themselves have reported
similar ranges, with some finding 1 or 2 percent Native American ancestry and Ancestry.com
reporting an outlying percentage of European ancestry among African Americans, 29%.According
to a genome-wide study by Bryc et al. (2009), the mixed ancestry of African Americans in
varying ratios came about as the result of sexual contact between West/Central Africans
(more frequently females) and Europeans (more frequently males). Consequently, the 365 African
Americans in their sample have a genome-wide average of 78.1% West African ancestry and
18.5% European ancestry, with large variation among individuals (ranging from 99% to 1%
West African ancestry). The West African ancestral component in African Americans is most similar
to that in present-day speakers from the non-Bantu branches of the Niger-Congo (Niger-Kordofanian)
family.Correspondingly, Montinaro et al. (2014) observed that around 50% of the overall ancestry
of African Americans traces back to the Niger-Congo-speaking Yoruba of southwestern Nigeria and southern
Benin, reflecting the centrality of this West African region in the Atlantic Slave Trade.
The next most frequent ancestral component found among African Americans was derived
from Great Britain, in keeping with historical records. It constitutes a little over 10%
of their overall ancestry, and is most similar to the Northwest European ancestral component
also carried by Barbadians. Zakharaia et al. (2009) found a similar proportion of Yoruba
associated ancestry in their African-American samples, with a minority also drawn from Mandenka
and Bantu populations. Additionally, the researchers observed an average European ancestry of 21.9%,
again with significant variation between individuals. Bryc et al. (2009) note that populations from
other parts of the continent may also constitute adequate proxies for the ancestors of some
African-American individuals; namely, ancestral populations from Guinea Bissau, Senegal and
Sierra Leone in West Africa and Angola in Southern Africa.Altogether, genetic studies
suggest that African Americans are a multiracial people. According to DNA analysis led in 2006
by Penn State geneticist Mark D. Shriver, around 58 percent of African Americans have
at least 12.5% European ancestry (equivalent to one European great-grandparent and his/her
forebears), 19.6 percent of African Americans have at least 25% European ancestry (equivalent
to one European grandparent and his/her forebears), and 1 percent of African Americans have at
least 50% European ancestry (equivalent to one European parent and his/her forebears).
According to Shriver, around 5 percent of African Americans also have at least 12.5%
Native American ancestry (equivalent to one Native American great-grandparent and his/her
forebears). Research suggests that Native American ancestry among people who identify
as African American is a result of relationships that occurred soon after slave ships arrived
in the American colonies, and European ancestry is of more recent origin, often from the decades
before the Civil War.===Y-DNA===
According to a Y-DNA study by Sims et al. (2007), the majority (≈60%) of African Americans
belong to various subclades of the E-M2 (E1b1a1, formerly E3a) paternal haplogroup. This is
the most common genetic paternal lineage found today among West/Central African males, and
is also a signature of the historical Bantu migrations. The next most frequent Y-DNA haplogroup
observed among African Americans is the R1b clade, which around 15% of African Americans
carry. This lineage is most common today among Northwestern European males. The remaining
African Americans mainly belong to the paternal haplogroup I (≈7%), which is also frequent
in Northwestern Europe.===mtDNA===
According to an mtDNA study by Salas et al. (2005), the maternal lineages of African Americans
are most similar to haplogroups that are today especially common in West Africa (>55%), followed
closely by West-Central Africa and Southwestern Africa (

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