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African Americans, also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans, are citizens of the United States who have total or partial antebellum ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa.[1] Specifically, most African Americans are of West and Central African descent and are descendants of enslaved peoples within the boundaries of the present-day U.S.[1][2]

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The Second Great Migration was the migration of more than 5 million African Americans from the South to the other three regions of the United States. It took place from 1941, through World War II, and lasted until 1970. It was much larger and of a different character than the first Great Migration (1910-1940). Some historians prefer to distinguish between the movements for those reasons.

In the Second Great Migration, more than five million African Americans moved to cities in states in the North, Midwest and West, including many to California, where Los Angeles and Oakland offered many skilled jobs in the defense industry. More of these migrants were already urban laborers who came from the cities of the South. They were better educated and had better skills than people who did not migrate.

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African-American school in 1916
Credit: Lewis Hine (1874-1940), photographer.
African-American school in Henderson County, Kentucky, 1916 by Lewis Hine.


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We should emphasize not Negro History, but the Negro in history. What we need is not a history of selected races or nations, but the history of the world void of national bias, race hate, and religious prejudice.
Carter G. Woodson (1875–1950),
"The Celebration of Negro History Week", Journal of Negro History (April 1927)

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Hugh Mulzac

Hugh Mulzac (March 26, 1886–1971) was an African-American member of the United States Merchant Marine. He earned a Master rating in 1918 which should have qualified him to command a ship, but this did not happen until September 29, 1942 because of racial discrimination.

In 1942 he was offered command of the SS Booker T. Washington, the first Liberty ship to be named after an African-American. He refused at first because the crew was to be all black. He insisted on an integrated crew, stating, "Under no circumstances will I command a Jim Crow vessel." The Merchant Marine finally gave in and agreed to an integrated crew, and he took command from 1942–1947, making 22 round trip voyages.

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  1. ^ a b Gomez, Michael Angelo (1998). Exchanging Our Country Marks : The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South. University of North Carolina Press. p. 12. ISBN 0807861715. 
  2. ^ Rucker, Walter C. (2006). The river flows on: Black resistance, culture, and identity formation in early America. LSU Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-8071-3109-1.