African American Culture

The first African American peoples did not come the United States (US) by choice.  Instead, they were kidnapped, stolen, or sold against their will and brought to this country to face hardship, heartbreak, and turmoil for the rest of their lives.

All other peoples immigrating to the US came here by choice.  Even though these immigrants often faced hardship, heartbreak, and turmoil, too, they were here because they chose to be here.  That freedom of choice is critical to African American culture today.

Perhaps it’s the legacy of being ripped away from ancient cultural heritages from their native Africa that keeps the African American culture strong and vibrant in this country today.

Other immigrants left their ethnic cultural traditions behind when they chose to come here, in an effort to blend in to the established American culture.  Many of them even altered their names to sound more American and refused to speak their native languages.

The captive slaves had no say in their own names and were forbidden to speak their native tongues.  No doubt this absolute denial of all things familiar only served to strengthen any emotional ties to their homeland.  Some of them answered to their American names when necessary but retained African names and languages in private.

The African American culture today is once again embracing that ancient heritage and the American population in general is now more accepting than ever before of the significance of the African origins of such a large segment of the population.

The African American culture has influenced national culture to such a degree that many issues viewed throughout the world as American are actually African American.

Music is a perfect example of the Americanization of African American culture.  Jazz, blues, ragtime, and swing are musical genres that have deep African roots and the earliest performers of these styles were black.  Today’s rap, hip hop, soul, gospel, and R&B music was first performed by black artists.

Naming babies has become more traditionally African, too, in many circles.  For centuries, African American parents named their children following the European origins of white Americans.  Now, many black children received names derived from African roots, once again strengthening the bond between the African American culture and its African ancestry.

African Culture Native American Culture Free Quilt Patterns

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