February African American Culture

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    African American culture

    African American culture in the United States includes the various cultural traditions of

    African ethnic groups. It is both part of and distinct from American culture . The U.S.Census Bureau defines African Americans as "people having origins in any of the Black race groups of Africa." ! African American culture is indigenous to the descendants inthe U.S. of survivors of the #iddle $assage . It is rooted in Africa and is an amalgam ofchiefly sub%Saharan African and Sahelean cultures.

    Although slavery greatly restricted the ability of Africans in America to practice theircultural traditions& many practices& values and beliefs survived and over time haveincorporated elements of 'uropean American culture. There are even certain facets ofAfrican American culture that (ere brought into being or made more prominent as aresult of slavery) an e*ample of this is ho( drumming became used as a means of

    communication and establishing a community identity during that time. The result is adynamic& creative culture that has had and continues to have a profound impact onmainstream American culture and on (orld culture as (ell. After 'mancipation & theseuni+uely African American traditions continued to gro(. They developed into distinctivetraditions in music& art&literature& religion & food & holidays& amongst others. ,hile forsome time sociologists& such as -unnar #yrdal and $atrick #oynihan& believed thatAfrican Americans had lost most cultural ties (ith Africa& anthropological field research

    by #elville ersovits and others demonstrated that there is a continuum of Africantraditions among Africans in the /e( ,orld from the ,est Indies to the United States.The greatest influence of African cultural practices on 'uropean cultures is found belo(the #ason%0i*on in the southeastern United States& especially in the Carolinas among the

    -ullah people and in 1ouisiana.African American culture often developed separately from mainstream American culture

    because of African Americans2 desire to practice their o(n traditions& as (ell as the persistence of racial segregation in America. Conse+uently African American culture has become a significant part of American culture and yet& at the same time& remains adistinct culture apart from it.

    History

    3rom the earliest days of slavery & slave o(ners sought to e*ercise control over their

    slaves by attempting to strip them of their African culture. The physical isolation andsocietal marginali4ation of African slaves and& later& of their free progeny& ho(ever&actually facilitated the retention of significant elements of traditional culture amongAfricans in the /e( ,orld generally& and in the U.S. in particular. Slave o(nersdeliberately tried to repress political organi4ation in order to deal (ith the many slaverebellions that took place in the southern United States& Bra4il& aiti& and the 0utch-uyanas.

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    African cultures&slavery&slave rebellions&and the civil rights movements8circa !9::s%!;:s

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    Harlem Renaissance

    ora /eale urston (as a prominent literary figure during the arlem >enaissance. Main article: Harlem Renaissance

    The first [email protected] public recognition of African American culture occurred during thearlem >enaissance. In the ! :s and ! D:s& African American music& literature& and art

    gained (ide notice. Authors such as ora /eale urston and /ella 1arsen and poets suchas 1angston ughes& Claude #cEay& and Countee Cullen (rote (orks describing theAfrican American e*perience. ?a44& s(ing& blues and other musical forms enteredAmerican popular music . African American artists such as ,illiam . ?ohnson and$almer ayden created uni+ue (orks of art featuring African Americans.

    The arlem >enaissance (as also a time of increased political involvement for AfricanAmericans. Among the notable African American political movements founded in theearly :th century are the United /egro Improvement Association and the /ationalAssociation for the Advancement of Colored $eople. The /ation of Islam& a notableIslamic religious movement& also began in the early ! D:s.

    African American cultural movement

    The Black $o(er movement of the ! ;:s and ! F:s follo(ed in the (ake of the non%violent American Civil >ights #ovement . The movement promoted racial pride andethnic cohesion in contrast to the focus on integration of the Civil >ights #ovement& andadopted a more militant posture in the face of racism. It also inspired a ne( renaissancein African American literary and artistic e*pression generally referred to as the AfricanAmerican or " Black Arts #ovement ."

    The (orks of popular recording artists such as /ina Simone 8Young, Gifted and Black andall & #ari 'vans& ?une ?ordan& 1arry /eal and Ahmos u%Bolton .

    Another [email protected] aspect of the African American Arts #ovement (as the infusion of the

    African aesthetic& a return to a collective cultural sensibility and ethnic pride that (asmuch in evidence during the arlem >enaissance and in the celebration of !gritude among the artistic and literary circles in the U.S.& Caribbean and the African continentnearly four decades earlier5 the idea that " black is beautiful ." 0uring this time& there (asa resurgence of interest in& and an embrace of& elements of African culture (ithin AfricanAmerican culture that had been suppressed or devalued to conform to 'urocentricAmerica. /atural hairstyles& such as the afro& and African clothing& such as the dashiki &gained popularity. #ore importantly& the African American aesthetic encouraged

    personal pride and political a(areness among African Americans.

    Music

    #en playing the [email protected]& a traditional ,est African drum adopted into African Americanand American culture. The bags and the clothing of the man on the right are printed (ithtraditional kente cloth patterns.African American music is rooted in the typically polyrhythmic music of the ethnicgroups of Africa& specifically those in the ,estern &Sahelean& and Sub%Saharan regions.African oral traditions& nurtured in slavery& encouraged the use of music to pass onhistory& teach lessons& ease suffering& and relay messages. The African pedigree ofAfrican American music is evident in some common elements5 call and response& syncopation & percussion&improvisation &s(ung notes & blue notes & the use of falsetto &melisma & and comple* multi%part harmony. 0uring slavery& Africans in America blendedtraditional 'uropean hymns (ith African elements to create spirituals .

    #any African Americans sing 1ift 'v2ry Hoice and Sing in addition to the American national anthem &The Star%Spangled Banner& or in lieu of it. ,ritten by ?ames ,eldon?ohnson and ?ohn >osamond ?ohnson in ! :: to be performed for the birthday ofAbraham 1incoln & the song (as& and continues to be& a popular (ay for AfricanAmericans to recall past struggles and e*press ethnic solidarity& faith and hope for thefuture. The song (as adopted as the "/egro /ational Anthem" by the /AAC$ in ! ! .African American children are taught the song at school& church or by their families. 1ift

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    'v2ry Hoice and Sing traditionally is sung immediately follo(ing& or instead of& The Star%Spangled Banner at events hosted by African American churches& schools& and otherorgani4ations.

    In the !9::s& as the result of the blackface minstrel sho( & African American music

    entered mainstream American society. By the early t(entieth century& several musicalforms (ith origins in the African American community had transformed American popular music. Aided by the technological innovations of radio and phonograph records&ragtime & @a44& blues& and s(ing also became popular overseas& and the ! :s becamekno(n as the ?a44 Age . The early :th century also sa( the creation of the first AfricanAmerican Broad(ay sho(s & films such as Eing Hidor2 s Hallelu"ah# & and operas such as-eorge -ersh(in 2s Porg$ and Bess . >ock and roll & doo (op &soul & and > B developed inthe mid :th century. These genres became very popular in (hite audiences and (ereinfluences for other genres such as surf . The do4ens & an urban African American traditionof using rhyming slang to put do(n your enemies 8or friends< developed through thesmart%ass street @ive of the early Seventies into a ne( form of music. In the South Bron* &

    the half speaking& half singing rhythmic street talk of 2rapping2 gre( into the hugelysuccessful cultural force kno(n as ip op . ip op (ould become a multiculturalmovement. o(ever& it is still important to many African Americans. The AfricanAmerican Cultural #ovement of the ! ;:s and ! F:s also fueled the gro(th of funk andlater hip%hop forms such as rap&hip house & ne( @ack s(ing and go go . African Americanmusic has e*perienced far more (idespread acceptance in American popular music in the

    !st century than ever before. In addition to continuing to develop ne(er musical forms&modern artists have also started a rebirth of older genres in the form of genres such as neo soul and modern funk%inspired groups .

    Dance

    The Cake(alk (as the first African American dance to gain (idespread popularity in theUnited States.

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackfacehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minstrel_showhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragtimehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazzhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_musichttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_Agehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadway_showhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Vidorhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallelujah!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gershwinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porgy_and_Besshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porgy_and_Besshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_and_rollhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doo_wophttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_musichttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%26Bhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surf_musichttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dozenshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Bronxhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_Hophttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funkhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip-hophttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_househttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_jack_swinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_gohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo_soulhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo_soulhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funk#Recent_Developmentshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cakewalkhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Americanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_Stateshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Cakewalk_Dance.jpghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blackfacehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Minstrel_showhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ragtimehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazzhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Blueshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Swing_musichttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jazz_Agehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Broadway_showhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Filmhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King_Vidorhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hallelujah!http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/George_Gershwinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Porgy_and_Besshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rock_and_rollhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Doo_wophttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Soul_musichttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/R%26Bhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Surf_musichttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_dozenshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Bronxhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_Hophttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funkhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip-hophttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Raphttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hip_househttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/New_jack_swinghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Go_gohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo_soulhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Neo_soulhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Funk#Recent_Developmentshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cakewalkhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Americanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/United_States
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    the period bet(een the !;::s and the early !9::s& art took the form of small drums&+uilts& (rought%iron figures and ceramic vessels in the southern United States. Theseartifacts have similarities (ith comparable crafts in ,est and Central Africa. In contrast&African American artisans like the /e( 'nglandKbased engraver Scipio #oorhead andthe Baltimore portrait painter ?oshua ?ohnson created art that (as conceived in a

    thoroughly (estern 'uropean fashion.

    0uring the !9::s& arriet $o(ers made +uilts in rural -eorgia& United States that areno( considered among the finest e*amples of nineteenth%century Southern +uilting. 1aterin the :th century& the (omen of -eeLs Bend developed a distinctive& bold& andsophisticated +uilting style based on traditional African American +uilts (ith a geometricsimplicity that developed separately but (as like that of Amish +uilts and modern art.

    After the American Civil ,ar & museums and galleries began more fre+uently to displaythe (ork of African American artists. Cultural e*pression in mainstream venues (as stilllimited by the dominant 'uropean aesthetic and by racial [email protected] To increase the

    visibility of their (ork& many African American artists traveled to 'urope (here they hadgreater freedom. It (as not until the arlem >enaissance that more (hites began to payattention to African American art in America.

    Eara ,alker &(ut & Cut paper and adhesive on (all& Brent Sikkema /MC.0uring the ! :s& artists such as >aymond BarthG& Aaron 0ouglas & Augusta Savage& and

    photographer ?ames Han 0er ee became (ell kno(n for their (ork. 0uring the -reat0epression & ne( opportunities arose for these and other African American artists underthe ,$A. In later years& other programs and institutions& such as the /e( Mork City%

    based armon 3oundation& helped to foster African American artistic talent. AugustaSavage &'li4abeth Catlett &1ois #ailou ?ones & >omare Bearden & ?acob 1a(rence andothers e*hibited in museums and @uried art sho(s& and built reputations and follo(ingsfor themselves.

    In the ! J:s and ! ;:s& there (ere very fe( (idely accepted African American artists.0espite this& The igh(aymen& a loose association of F African American artists from3t. $ierce& 3lorida & created idyllic& +uickly reali4ed images of the 3lorida landscape and

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    peddled some J:&::: of them from the trunks of their cars. They sold their art directly tothe public rather than through galleries and art agents& thus receiving the name "The

    igh(aymen". >ediscovered in the mid%! :s& today they are recogni4ed as an important part of American folk history. Their art(ork is (idely collected by enthusiasts andoriginal pieces can easily fetch thousands of dollars in auctions and sales.

    The Black Arts #ovement of the ! ;:s and ! F:s (as another period of resurgentinterest in African American art. 0uring this period& several African%American artistsgained national prominence& among them 1ou Stovall& 'd 1ove& Charles ,hite& and ?eff0onaldson . 0onaldson and a group of African%American artists formed the Afrocentriccollective A3>IC=B>A& (hich remains in e*istence today. The sculptor #artin $uryear&(hose (ork has been acclaimed for years& is being honored (ith a D:%year retrospectiveof his (ork at the #useum of #odern Art in /e( Mork starting /ovember ::F.

    /otable contemporary African American artists include 0avid ammons& 'ugene ?.#artin &Charles Tolliver & andEara ,alker .

    Literature

    1angston ughes& a notable African American poet of the arlem >enaissance .African American literature has its roots in the oral traditions of African slaves inAmerica. The slaves used stories and fables in much the same (ay as they usedmusic.These stories influenced the earliest African American (riters and poets in the!9thcentury such as $hillis ,heatley and =laudah '+uiano . These authors reached earlyhigh points by telling slave narratives.

    0uring the early :th century arlem >enaissance& numerous authors and poets& such as1angston ughes& ,.'.B. 0ubois & andBooker T. ,ashington & grappled (ith ho( torespond to discrimination in America. Authors during the Civil >ights era & such as>ichard ,right &?ames Bald(in and -(endolyn Brooks (rote about issues of racialsegregation& oppression and other aspects of African American life. This traditioncontinues today (ith authors (ho have been accepted as an integral part of Americanliterature& (ith (orks such as Roots: )he %aga of an merican *amil$ by Ale* aley&

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Arts_Movementhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Whitehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Donaldsonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Donaldsonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hammonshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_J._Martinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_J._Martinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Tolliverhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kara_Walkerhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hugheshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Americanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poethttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Renaissancehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fablehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillis_Wheatleyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olaudah_Equianohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_narrativeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Renaissancehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hugheshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.E.B._Duboishttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booker_T._Washingtonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_Rights_movementhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wright_(author)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Baldwinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_Brookshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_segregationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_segregationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_literaturehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_literaturehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roots:_The_Saga_of_an_American_Familyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roots:_The_Saga_of_an_American_Familyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Haleyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Langston_Hughes_by_Nickolas_Muray.jpghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Arts_Movementhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Whitehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Donaldsonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Jeff_Donaldsonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/David_Hammonshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_J._Martinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eugene_J._Martinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Charles_Tolliverhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Kara_Walkerhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hugheshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African_Americanhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Poethttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Renaissancehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fablehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phillis_Wheatleyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Olaudah_Equianohttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Slave_narrativeshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Harlem_Renaissancehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hugheshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/W.E.B._Duboishttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Booker_T._Washingtonhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_Civil_Rights_movementhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Wright_(author)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/James_Baldwinhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gwendolyn_Brookshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_segregationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Racial_segregationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_literaturehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/American_literaturehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Roots:_The_Saga_of_an_American_Familyhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Alex_Haley
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    )he (olor Purple by Alice ,alker & and Belo+ed by /obel $ri4e%(inning Toni #orrison &and series by =ctavia Butler and ,alter #osley that have achieved both best%sellingand6or a(ard%(inning status.

    Museums

    The African American #useum #ovement emerged during the ! J:s and ! ;:s to preserve the heritage of the African American e*perience and to ensure its properinterpretation in American history. #useums devoted to African American history arefound in many African American neighborhoods. Institutions such as the AfricanAmerican #useum and 1ibrary at =akland and The African American #useum inCleveland (ere created by African Americans to teach and investigate cultural historythat& until recent decades (as primarily preserved trough oral traditions.

    Language

    -enerations of hardships imposed on the African American community createddistinctive language patterns. Slave o(ners often intentionally mi*ed people (ho spokedifferent African languages to discourage communication in any language other than'nglish. This& combined (ith prohibitions against education& led to the development of

    pidgins & simplified mi*tures of t(o or more languages that speakers of differentlanguages could use to communicate. '*amples of pidgins that became fully developedlanguages include Creole& common to aiti &and-ullah & common to the Sea Islands offthe coast of South Carolina and -eorgia .

    African American Hernacular 'nglish is a type variety 8dialect& ethnolect and sociolect ights #ovement.

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_Christianityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslimhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptismhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_churchhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emancipation_Proclamationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_denominationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AME_Churchhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Allen_(Reverend)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1955-1968)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1955-1968)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:River_baptism_in_New_Bern.jpghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Protestant_Christianityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Muslimhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canadahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Baptismhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_churchhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Emancipation_Proclamationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christian_denominationhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AME_Churchhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Richard_Allen_(Reverend)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1955-1968)http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/African-American_Civil_Rights_Movement_(1955-1968)
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    1ike many Christians& African American Christians sometimes participate in or attend aChristmas play. Black ati+it$ by 1angston ughes is a re%telling of the classic /ativitystory (ith gospel music . $roductions can be found a African American theaters andchurches all over the country.

    Islam

    A member of the /ation of Islam selling merchandise on a city street corner. 0espite the popular assumption that the /ation represents all or most African American #uslims&less than O are members.-enerations before the advent of the Atlantic slave trade& Islam (as a thriving religion in,est Africa due to its peaceful introduction via the lucrative trans%Saharan trade bet(een

    prominent tribes in the southern Sahara and the Berbers to the /orth. In his attesting tothis fact the ,est African scholar Cheikh Anta 0iop e*plained5 "The primary reason forthe success of Islam in Black Africa...conse+uently stems from the fact that it (as

    propagated peacefully at first by solitary Arabo%Berber travelers to certain Black kingsand notables& (ho then spread it about them to those under their @urisdiction" #any first%generation slaves (ere often able to retain their #uslim identity& their descendants (erenot. Slaves (ere either forcibly converted to Christianity as (as the case in the Catholiclands or (ere besieged (ith gross inconviences to their religious practice such as in thecase of the $rotestant American mainland. In the decades after slavery and particularlyduring the depression era& Islam reemerged in the form of highly visible and sometimescontroversial heterodo* movements in the African American community. The first ofthese of note (as the #oorish Science Temple of America & founded by /oble 0re( Ali. Ali had a profound influence on ,allace 3ard & (ho later founded the Black nationalist

    /ation of Islam in ! D:. '[email protected] #uhammad became head of the organi4ation in ! DN.

    #uch like #alcolm P & (ho left the /ation of Islam in ! ;N& many African American#uslims no( follo( traditional Islam. A survey by the Council on American%Islamic>elations sho(s that D:O of Sunni #os+ue attendees are African Americans. AfricanAmerican orthodo* #uslims are often the victims of stereotypes& most notably theassumption that an African American #uslim is a member of the /ation of Islam. Theyare often vie(ed by the uneducated African%American community in general as lessauthentic than #uslims from the #iddle 'ast or South Asia (hile credibility is less of anissue (ith immigrant #uslims and #uslim (orld in general.

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    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_playhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nativityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hugheshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_musichttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_of_Islamhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_tradehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Africahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorish_Science_Temple_of_Americahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Drew_Alihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Fardhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_nationalisthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_of_Islamhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_Muhammadhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Xhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_on_American-Islamic_Relationshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_on_American-Islamic_Relationshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunnihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Easthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Asiahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Image:Nation_of_islam_seller.jpghttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Christmas_playhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_Nativityhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Langston_Hugheshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gospel_musichttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_of_Islamhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Atlantic_slave_tradehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Islamhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/West_Africahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Moorish_Science_Temple_of_Americahttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Noble_Drew_Alihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Wallace_Fardhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Black_nationalisthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nation_of_Islamhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Elijah_Muhammadhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Malcolm_Xhttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_on_American-Islamic_Relationshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Council_on_American-Islamic_Relationshttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sunnihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Mosquehttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Middle_Easthttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/South_Asia
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    Other religions

    Aside from Christianity and Islam& there are also African Americans (ho follo( ?udaism &Buddhism & and a number of other religions. The Black ebre( Israelites are a collectionof African American ?e(ish religious organi4ations. Among their varied teachings& they

    often include that African Americans are descended from the Biblical ebre(s 8sometimes (ith the parado*ical claim that the ?e(ish people are notastafarianism. #any of them are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean andSouth America& (here these are practiced. Because of religious practices& such as animalsacrifice& (hich are no longer common among American religions and are often legally

    prohibited& these groups may be vie(ed negatively and are sometimes the victims ofharassment.

    Life events

    3or most African Americans& the observance of life events follo(s the pattern ofmainstream American culture. There are some traditions (hich are uni+ue to AfricanAmericans.

    Some African Americans have created ne( rites of passage that are linked to Africantraditions. $re%teen and teenage boys and girls take classes to prepare them for adulthood.They are typically taught spirituality& responsibility& and leadership. #ost of these

    programs are modeled after traditional African ceremonies& (ith the focus largely onembracing African ideologies rather than specific rituals.

    To this day& some African American couples choose to " @ump the broom" as a part oftheir (edding ceremony. Although the practice& (hich can be traced back to -hana & fellout of favor in the African American community after the end of slavery& it hase*perienced a slight resurgence in recent years as some couples seek to reaffirm theirAfrican heritage.

    3uneral traditions tend to vary based on a number of factors& including religion andlocation& but there are a number of commonalities. $robably the most important part ofdeath and dying in the African American culture is the gathering of family and friends.'ither in the last days before death or shortly after death& typically any friends and familymembers that can be reached are notified. This gathering helps to provide spiritual andemotional support& as (ell as assistance in making decisions and accomplishing everydaytasks.

    The spirituality of death is very important in African American culture. A member of theclergy or members of the religious community& or both& are typically present (ith thefamily through the entire process. 0eath is often vie(ed as transitory rather than final.#any services are called homegoings& instead of funerals& based on the belief that the

    person is going home to the afterlife. The entire end of life process is generally treated as

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    a celebration of life rather than a mourning of loss. This is most notably demonstrated inthe /e( =rleans ?a44 3uneral tradition (here upbeat music& dancing& and food encouragethose gathered to be happy and celebrate the homegoing of a beloved friend.

    Cuisine

    A traditional soul food dinner consisting of fried chicken& candied yams &collard greens &cornbread & andmacaroni and cheese.The cultivation and use of many agricultural products in the United States& such as yams&

    peanuts &rice &okra &sorghum &grits & (atermelon &indigo dyes & andcotton & can be traced toAfrican influences. African American foods reflect creative responses to racial andeconomic oppression and poverty. Under slavery& African Americans (ere not allo(ed toeat better cuts of meat& and after emancipation many often (ere too poor to afford them.Soul food & a hearty cuisine commonly associated (ith African Americans in the South 8but also common to African Americans nation(ide

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    African American names are often dra(n from the same language groups as other popular names found in the United States . The practice of adopting neo% African orIslamic names did not gain popularity until the late Civil >ights era . 'fforts to recoverAfrican heritage inspired selection of names (ith deeper cultural significance. $rior tothis& using African names (as not practical for t(o reasons. 3irst& many African

    Americans (ere several generations removed from the last ancestor to have an Africanname since slaves (ere often given 'uropean names. Second& a traditional Americanname helps an individual fit into American society.

    Another African American naming practice that predates the use of African names is theuse of "made%up" names. In an attempt to create their o(n identity& gro(ing numbers ofAfrican American parents& starting in the post% ,orld ,ar II era& began creating ne(names based on sounds they found pleasing such as #ar+uon& 0aSha(n& 1aTasha& orShandra.

    Family

    ,hen slavery (as practiced in the United States& it (as common for families to beseparated through sale. 'ven during slavery& ho(ever& African American familiesmanaged to maintain strong familial bonds. 3ree& African men and (omen& (ho managedto buy their o(n freedom by being hired out& (ho (ere emancipated& or (ho had escapedtheir masters& often (orked long and hard to buy the members of their families (horemained in bondage and send for them.

    =thers& separated from blood kin& formed close bonds comprised of fictive kin) pla$ relations& pla$ aunts& cousins and the like. This practice& perhaps a holdover from Africantradition& survived 'mancipation& (ith non%blood family friends commonly accorded thestatus and titles of blood relations. This broader& more African concept of (hatconstitutes family and community& and the deeply rooted respect for elders that is part ofAfrican traditional societies may be the genesis of the common use of the terms like"aunt"& "uncle"& "brother&" "sister"& "#other" and "#ama" (hen addressing other AfricanAmerican people& some of (hom may be complete strangers. =r& it could have arisen inthe Christian church as a (ay of greeting fello( congregants and believers.

    Immediately after slavery& African American families struggled to reunite and rebuild(hat had been taken. As late as ! ;:& F9O of African American families (ere headed bymarried couples. This number steadily declined over the latter half of the :th century. Anumber of factors& including attitudes to(ards education &gender roles & and poverty have

    created a situation (here& for the first time since slavery& a [email protected] of African Americanchildren live in a household (ith only one parent& typically the mother. These figuresappear to indicate a (eak African American nuclear family structure& especially (ithin alarge patriarchal society.

    This apparent (eakness is balanced by mutual aid systems established by e*tendedfamily members to provide emotional and economic support. =lder family members passon social and cultural traditions such as religion and manners to younger family

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    members. In turn& the older family members are cared for by younger family members(hen they are unable to care for themselves. These relationships e*ist at all economiclevels in the African American community& providing strength and support both to theAfrican American family and the community.

    !olitics and social issuesSince the passing of the Hoting >ights Act & African Americans are voting and beingelected to public office in increasing numbers. As of ?anuary ::! there (ere &!:!African American elected officials in America. African Americans are over(helmingly0emocratic . =nly !!O of African Americans voted for -eorge ,. Bush in the ::N$residential 'lection . Social issues such as racial profiling & the racial disparity insentencing& higher rates of poverty& institutional racism & and lo(er access to health care are important to the African American community. ,hile the divide on racial and fiscalissues has remained consistently (ide for decades& seemingly indicating a (ide socialdivide& African Americans tend to hold the same optimism and concern for America as,hites. In the case of many moral issues such as religion & andfamily values& AfricanAmericans tend to be more conservative than ,hites. Another area (here AfricanAmericans outstrip ,hites in their conservatism is on the issue of homose*uality .$rominent leaders in the Black church have demonstrated against gay rights issues suchas gay marriage. There are those (ithin the community (ho take a more inclusive

    position most notably& the late #rs. Coretta Scott Eing& and the >everend Al Sharpton &(ho& (hen asked in ::D (hether he supported gay marriage& replied that he might as(ell have been asked if he supported black marriage or (hite marriage.

    eighborhoods

    African American neighborhoods are types of ethnic enclaves found in many cities in theUnited States. The formation of African American neighborhoods is closely linked to thehistory of segregation in the United States & either through formal la(s& or as a product ofsocial norms. 0espite this& African American neighborhoods have played an importantrole in the development of nearly all aspects of both African American culture and

    broader American culture.

    0ue to segregated conditions and (idespread poverty some African Americanneighborhoods in the United States have been called "ghettos." The use of this term iscontroversial and& depending on the conte*t& potentially offensive. 0espite mainstreamAmericaLs use of the term "ghetto" to signify a poor urban area populated by ethnicminorities& those living in the area often used it to signify something positive. TheAfrican American ghettos did not al(ays contain dilapidated houses and deteriorating

    [email protected]& nor (ere all of its residents poverty%stricken. 3or many African Americans& theghetto (as "home" a place representing authentic blackness and a feeling& passion& oremotion derived from the rising above the struggle and suffering of being of Africandescent in America. 1angston ughes relays in the "/egro -hetto" 8! D!< and "The

    eart of arlem" 8! NJ

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    are long and (ide&6But arlemLs much more than these alone&6 arlem is (hatLs inside."$lay(right August ,ilson used the term "ghetto" in #a >aineyLs Black Bottom 8! 9N