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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.

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Soldiers of the 10th Cavalry in Cuba, after the Spanish-American War

The 10th Cavalry Regiment is a unit of the United States Army. Formed as a segregated African-American unit, the 10th Cavalry was one of the original "Buffalo Soldier" regiments. It served in combat during the Indian Wars in the western United States, the Spanish–American War in Cuba and in the Philippine–American War. It was the only African-American unit under American command that fought German soldiers (advisors) in World War I. The regiment was trained as a combat unit but later relegated to non-combat duty and served in that capacity in World War II until its deactivation in 1944.

The 10th Cavalry was reactivated as an integrated combat unit in 1958. Portions of the regiment have served in conflicts ranging from the Vietnam War to the current Iraq War. The current structure is by squadron, with the 1st, 4th, and 7th Squadrons assigned to three brigades of the 4th Infantry Division at Fort Carson, Colorado.

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Harriet Tubman
Credit: Photograph by H. B. Lindsley
Harriet Tubman (1820s—1913)


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We deem it a settled point that the destiny of the colored man is bound up with that of the white people of this country. ... We are here, and here we are likely to be. To imagine that we shall ever be eradicated is absurd and ridiculous. We can be remodified, changed, assimilated, but never extinguished. We repeat, therefore, that we are here; and that this is our country; and the question for the philosophers and statesmen of the land ought to be, What principles should dictate the policy of the action toward us? We shall neither die out, nor be driven out; but shall go with this people, either as a testimony against them, or as an evidence in their favor throughout their generations.
Frederick Douglass (c.1818–1895),
Essay in North Star (Nov. 1858); as quoted in Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (1992) by Derrick Bell, p. 40.

Selected biography

Aaron McGruder

Aaron McGruder (born May 29, 1974) is an American cartoonist best known for writing and drawing The Boondocks, a Universal Press Syndicate comic strip about two young African American brothers from inner-city Chicago now living with their grandfather in a sedate suburb, as well as being the creator and executive producer of The Boondocks TV series based on his strip. Through the exceptionally intelligent Huey (named after Huey P. Newton) and his younger brother and wannabe gangsta Riley, the strip explores issues involving African American culture and American politics.

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