Portal:African American

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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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Tuskegee Airmen

The Tuskegee Airmen /tʌˈskɡi/ is the popular name of a group of African American pilots who fought in World War II. Formally, they were the 332nd Fighter Group of the U.S. Army Air Corps.

The Tuskegee Airmen were the first African American military aviators in the United States armed forces. During World War II, African Americans in many U.S. states still were subject to Jim Crow laws. The American military was racially segregated, as was much of the federal government. The Tuskegee Airmen were subject to racial discrimination, both within and outside the army. Despite these adversities, they flew with distinction. They were particularly successful in their missions as bomber escorts in Europe.

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Barack Obama taking the oath of office on January 20, 2009 at the U.S. Capitol.
Credit: US government photo, 2009
Barack Obama, first African American President of the United States, taking the oath of office on January 20, 2009 at the U.S. Capitol. See also: List of African-American firsts


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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.

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Rosa Parks in 1955, with Martin Luther King, Jr. in the background

Rosa Louise McCauley Parks (February 4, 1913 – October 24, 2005) was an African American civil rights activist whom the U.S. Congress later called the "Mother of the Modern-Day Civil Rights Movement."

On December 1, 1955 in Montgomery, Alabama, Parks, age 42, refused to obey bus driver James Blake's order that she give up her seat to make room for a white passenger. Her action was not the first of its kind: Irene Morgan in 1946, and Sarah Louise Keys in 1955, had won rulings before the U.S. Supreme Court and the Interstate Commerce Commission respectively in the area of interstate bus travel. Nine months before Parks refused to give up her seat, 15-year-old Claudette Colvin refused to move from her seat on the same bus system. But unlike these previous individual actions of civil disobedience, Parks' action sparked the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

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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.