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Section 1 Social and Cultural Life Section 2 Activism Today Section 3 Looking to the Future. African Americans in Modern America. Section 1: Social and Cultural Life. Main Idea African Americans remain a strong presence in the cultural life of the United States. Reading Focus
Section 2Activism Today
Section 3Looking to the Future
African Americans in Modern America
African Americans remain a strong presence in the cultural life of the United States.
In the years following the civil rights movement, African Americans have taken on an increasingly significant role in the nation’s public life. In turn, trends in national politics and American culture have influenced African American culture in modern America.
Origins in early 1900s, gained momentum in the 1960s
Afrocentrists promote a shift toward Africa-centered view; greater emphasis should be put on Africa’s contributions to world civilizations
Advocates preserving contemporary African American language, food, music, and dance
In 1966 Maulana Karenga created Kwanzaa to introduce and reinforce core African family and community values
Credited with improving the self-image of many black Americans and with revealing aspects of African history that had long been ignored
But Afrocentrism criticized for distorting aspects of African history
Some critics say Afrocentrism is, in effect, promoting racism
Though popularity has faded, Afrocentrism influence is still felt in some intellectual and cultural circles
What is Afrocentrism?
Black nationalist movement that gained popularity in the United States in the 1960s
What themes are common to works of some contemporary black authors and entertainers?
Racism, personal history, slavery, discrimination, social ills
African Americans have been active in fighting racial inequalities and discrimination that persist in the United States, such as in the areas of justice and federal support.
During the 1970s and 1980s African Americans made major political gains. With those gains, black leaders and politicians worked to reduce crime and poverty in the black community and to address racial inequalities. Although African Americans made notable improvements, many racial inequalities remained. For this reason, black activists have continued to work for full equality for African Americans.
October 16, 1995, in Washington, D.C. march promoted as day of unity, renewal, and protest
Crowds gathered to hear black leaders speak; black men urged to get active in politics and in their communities; help register African Americans to vote
Received mixed reactions, critics spoke out
Louis Farrakhan, accused of being antiwhite, anti-Semitic, and sexist
Organizers criticized for limiting the march to men
March made important gains; about 1.5 million black men registered
Million Woman March, held by black women in 1997
2005 coalition of leaders called the Millions More March; celebrated the tenth anniversary of the Million Man March
What issues have black activists and other leaders addressed to reduce racial discrimination in the justice system?
Increasing number of black officers, focusing on community policing, adopting police policies not based on racial profiling
Why do some claim that the inadequate response to Katrina was due to race or class prejudices?
Some say that media coverage portrayed blacks as undeserving of aid; some poorer areas of New Orleans were without basic services a year later.
The future holds great promise for African Americans, but challenges remain. Strong leaders help point the way to a bright future.
You have read how Africans first came to America hundreds of years ago. Since then, African Americans have achieved great successes in politics, education, business, and culture. What does the future hold?
Condoleezza Rice served first as national security adviser and later replaced Colin Powell as U.S. secretary of state; political adviser Donna Brazile first African American to direct a major presidential campaign
In 2000 more than 9,000 black elected officials in the United States
Carol Moseley Braun of Illinois the first black woman elected to the U.S. Senate in 1993; sought the Democratic nomination for president
Barack Obama from Illinois is only the fifth black American senator
Deval Patrick became the first black governor of Massachusetts in 2006
Many black leaders are working to improve the black community
National Urban League strengthens and empowers black communities
Groups work to improve education, health care, and the criminal justice system; opportunities in political, economic, and cultural arenas
Past leaders built a strong foundation; leaders of tomorrow must continue their legacy
Leaders for Today
In what areas are some black leaders making an impact today?
As political advisers, elected officials, and advocates for the black community
Many blacks moved south out of a feeling of family duty or responsibility; for example black Americans returning to care for elderly parents
Many Northern-born blacks also migrated to the South
Some for reasons of heritage, others for greater job opportunities
Manufacturing operations moving south because of cheaper land, government incentives, and more temperate climate
Trend continues today; by 2000 some 7 million African Americans had returned to former slave states
The South has lifestyle advantages over the North, including lower crime rates and a lower cost of living
Return of African Americans to the South a sign of great progress
What are some obstacles to equality that African Americans still face?
inequality in educational opportunities, many black communities still plagued with crime, some blacks struggle with equal opportunity