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Is there an African American Ethnicity?

What is the African American Ethnicity?

Who are those of African American Ethnicity?

All are good questions.

I don't see anyone writing about, or talking about African America as an ethnicity. For that matter, I don't see anyone writing about, or talking about African America as an entity.

Yet, most, if not all of us who ˜call' ourselves ˜black', also define ourselves as ˜African American.' How does such a separation happen in the minds of those who are the subject of the term?

When I was simply ˜black', I knew I was a Negro. The difference, for me, was that the fact I was a Negro was a matter of scientific definition. I was one of that great number who were/are Negroid. That whole thing about Negroid, Caucasoid, and Mongoloid has past, or is passing, into non-usage. These categories were considered to be the primary groups of humans on planet Earth.

In my junior year, an anthropology professor, Dr. Mook, spent a couple of classes pointing out that this was no longer true since those Americans of unknown African ancestry, as a group, failed to meet the criteria of any one of those groups, and could not be placed as a sub-division of any one of the groups.. Therefore, that group constituted an added primary group in the human family.

He called the group The American Negro.

When I embraced ˜black' as the description of who I am, American Negro as well as Negro, became scientific terminology from the field of anthropology. I was ˜black.'

Strangely, I never saw being ˜black' as definition of who I am. Over time, and particularly within the last generation, ˜black' has more become a definer of who persons like me are. Clearly, however, ˜black' is not an ethnicity.

Ethnicity is about uniqueness.

Black is not about uniqueness. The implication is ˜black' is unique to Americans. It isn't. The extended implication is that ˜black' is unique to Africa. It isn't. A confusion of ˜black' being synonymous with both African nationals, and native-born Americans of African descent has become a strident element in American society. That confusion has manifested itself in widely varying contexts ranging from a student in Nebraska competing in an essay contest for African Americans because he is an (naturalized) American born in an African nation, and Teresa Heinz-Kerry of similar circumstance to a new member of the United States Senate, Osama Obama. Senator is the native-born, child of an Irish-American mother and a Kenyan father,

All three say they are African-American. They are right. However, they are not African American. The simply difference of a hyphen. You can't see the hyphen when you speak. Many say there is no difference in any case.

I say there is. This bring me back to the original issue, African American Ethnicity.

The difficulty is based in the fact that African America is a real place constructed, and held in the legal, and social construct of America.

It, African America, is as real as American is real.

All African Americans know African America as the place where they live. As the place where they ˜come from.' African America is the place we look for when we go to a strange town. African America is the place we go to when we go home.

Yet, no one writes or speaks about African America.

We call it ˜black'. Even while reason tells us that is not true, we still call it ˜black.'

Is there an African American Ethnicity?

Yes.

What is the African American Ethnicity?

The African American Ethnicity is me. The African American Ethnicity is us. The African American Ethnicity is all that is of, in, and from African America.

Who are those of African American Ethnicity?

We are those Americans who are of unknown African ancestry, wholly or in part.

There is no quibble.

Wherever we are. We are.

If anyone sees any other position, pro or con please send me the link.

PEACE

Jim Chester
African Americans for African America http://iaanh2.org African American Pledge of Unity We stand, Together, after left alone in a land we never knew. We Bind ourselves, Together, with the blood and will of Those who have gone before. From the Bodies of our Ancestors thrown away, from the Pieces of Ourselves left to perish, We rise as One, a New Body in a New Land, a New People in a New Nation. Of Common Mind, Body, and Spirit, By Declaration of our Amalgamated Individual and Personal Authorities, We Are African America. © James Wesley Chester 2004; 2008 You are who you say you are. Your children are who you say you are.
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Well, JWC ...

I have no link for you, but I've got about $0.05 cents to throw in to your discussion.

I suppose, more accurately, what I have is a "con" seeing as how I don't see things the way you see them. I would guess that is because our experiences are so different. And let me say from the beginning that I don't see your perspective as wrong. I just see our conclusions as different! And I, personally, don't see any problem with them co-existing. I'm sure many others will, however. Perhaps you may be one of them. But, in the spirit of debate, here's my take on your question.

The first of our differences begins with the notion that I don't see African America as a place. As a specific land mass or however you would best describe it. Secondly, I don't believe that "Black" is necessarily who somebody is. Perhaps "what" they are ... inasmuch as it can be interchangable with African American (I hope the no-hyphen thing is right! Smile) ... and, thus, would describe, to a certain extent, the ethnicity situation you are speaking of.

I see "Black" as more of a name more so than a personality. I am Black because, at the time I was born, that is what my people preferred to be known as. I believe before that, in my parent's time, I would have been Negro. Today, I am African American because that is the term my people prefer to be addressed as now. In reality, I/we are all of those things, because nothing has changed about our circumstances. Nothing has changed about who we are. Just the name.

So, I would answer the ethnicity issue as this: I am an American born of African ancestors. I have a culture that is one developed of African-born predecessors evolving into an American experience, albeit through violent and inhumane means. That culture and heritage is different and difficult, because unlike any other American, the choice of being American was not mine/ours. The promise of America is/was set up to work for the immigrant. Clearly, my ancestors were not one of those.

Additionally, I have an ancestry that is deeply and inescapably bound to African ancestors. Being an American does not dissipate that bond in any way, and so, part of my total ethnicity includes an African ancestry with an American culture and a heritage that is combined of both. What I decide to do with all that is my choice. And I choose to embrace it all and come up with a way of living in which I can do that.

The fact that my specific African ancestry is "unknown" does not do anything to diminish the fact that my ancestry is most indeed African, for me. A hyphen or no hyphen is extremely insignificant to me because, as I said before, to me it's just a name. One of many. It is not "who" I am. I am "who" I am and Negro/Black/African American is what I am known by. What makes me "me" is the combination of how I got to be where I am today ... who my parents are, who their parents were, who their parents were, and who their parents were ... and how all of that has converged to make me who I am right now. The word "Black" can't possibly describe who I am as a person. Who I am is the experiences and realities that have brought me to this place and time and the person I have become due to those experiences and realities.

My ethnicity is that of an American born of African ancestry. My history and heritage is that of a combination of that. And my culture is that of an enslaved history of Africans in America.

I think that about does it.

Smile
My ethnicity is that of an American born of African ancestry. My history and heritage is that of a combination of that.---EbonyRose

There a number of places in your post I was tempted to 'jump in.' I decided instead to the end first, because this had to be additive to other discussions we have had. And it is.

The quote I selected is to the point I would want to make. The reason I selected it is because it makes your definition of yourself the same as that claimed by Teresa Heinz-Kerry.

That not only is not true. I know that is not your intent. And...it nothing to do with the fact that she is Caucasian.

I agree with almost all you said.

I think. I know the fact that our African ancestry is unknown does make, not only a difference, but the difference.

That unknown African ancestry is what makes us unique. Of course, the circumstance and process that makes that ancestry unknown is also very critical.

Our history, and experience in that circumstance and that history defines us in the world.

We do agree. Except in conclusion.

We agree on the reality of our circumstance, and all the reasons for it.

We agree on who we are. We agree on why.

The rest will come.

I'm the one who is right.

Of course.


PEACE

Jim Chester
LOL ... yes, of course, Mr. Chester. Wink

However, let me present this presumption to you ...

quote:
That unknown African ancestry is what makes us unique. Of course, the circumstance and process that makes that ancestry unknown is also very critical.


I would venture to say that the "unknown African Ancestry" makes us unique within ourselves, as a people. Some of us know our African ancestry. They have utilized and taken advantage of the opportunity to trace it back. Most of us don't, though. However, we do ALL share the African ancestry ... whether known or not. The "unknown" is a personal quandry. It goes to defining one's ancestry and that part of one's heritage that is unknown and that is searched for.

As a people, because it affects the majority of us, it is another tie that binds.

And I didn't know that Teresa Heinz-Kerry was born here in America. However, if that being so, that would stregthen my argument that, us both being African American in the same general context, African American is not "who" I am, but "what" I am. Because she is not me. I am not her. She is who she is. I am who I am. You are who you are.

Right? Smile
And I didn't know that Teresa Heinz-Kerry was born here in America.---EbonyRose

Teresa Heinz-Kerry was born in Mozambique. She is African by place of birth.

She is a naturalized American citizen.

Clearly, we are all individuals. Yet, all of us have a commonality with some group of other persons who share our uniqueness. Typically, the grouping is characterized by ancestral nationality.

That is not true for you and me, and all others like us. We are the only people in the world for which this is true.

Be fortunate enough to find your ancestral nationality is great. That person now has a choice based in fact/documentation for self-determination.

That person can be an American who is African American, and/or an American who is Ibo-American, or whatever is appropriate.

Clearly, that is good.

I was drawn back to address your point of land and place be valid reasons for your conclusion. I know it broaches persuasion, but it is not intended to your right to your conclusion.

Neither the lack of land, nor place have validity to prevent the determination of identity.

Land is not necessary. The examples I have offered in other postings is Persians, Jews, Kurds, and of course Palestinians.

Place is not synonymous with land. As I noted, we known how to find the place of African Americans when we go to a strange town. That 'place' may be different in the same town,

We knew where to find African Americans when first we walked in the cafeteria of the Student Union Building in college.

It is the place where we always are wherever America is.


PEACE

Jim Chester
Okay ... so then are you equating African America with, say, Harlem, for instance? Or South Central L.A. in California? Or Washington, D.C.? Or Atlanta, GA?

This would put an entirely different spin on what I've thought you've been saying all this time.

But, I thought I remembered a conversation between you and Oshun Auset wherein the two of you definitely acknowledged an African America. As a real and specific place. Was I mistaken? Confused
quote:
Originally posted by EbonyRose:
Okay ... so then are you equating African America with, say, Harlem, for instance? Or South Central L.A. in California? Or Washington, D.C.? Or Atlanta, GA?

No. All of those places are a part of African America. Those places have identity ONLY because there is an African America. African America is the whole. Those places are parts of African America.

Those places were created as a part of African America by African Americans creating a place, a refuge from America. These are places that enable us to be who we are to full extent of our ability; without overt obstruction from anyone outside ourselves.


This would put an entirely different spin on what I've thought you've been saying all this time.

I put the burden on myself to make sense in all that I say in the context of African America. I don't always 'get it right', but it is my intend to be cogent in every regard.

This is part of the reason I repeatedly seek the reaction of others like me. You are as likely to see that which is wrong in what I say as I am.


But, I thought I remembered a conversation between you and Oshun Auset wherein the two of you definitely acknowledged an African America. As a real and specific place. Was I mistaken? Confused


I always try to define African America as the place wherever America is. I typically use the phrase; 'America is wherever American is.'

I do the same for the African American National Heritage flag. It is valid wherever the American flag is valid.

Our national anthem is a valid as The Star-Spangled Banner.

Our Pledge of Unity is as valid as the Pledge of Allegiance.

This is part of reason I did this post. I am eager to meet any other person who has a perception of themselves that yields ancestral nationality.

I think anything less leaves me/us with less than I/we deserve, AND certainly less than I am, and we are.


PEACE

Jim Chester
JWC,

Two questions.

(1) Is there any evidence that Teresa Heinz-Kerry has actually referred to herself as either an African American or an African-American, as opposed to, say, a South African American? Or is this something that was thought up by some pundant during the past election?

(2) What's the difference between an Irish-American and an Irish American? Do you have any links to any comentary by a US citizen of Irish descent making an issue of this distinction?

Just curious.

Confused
JWC,

Two questions.

(1) Is there any evidence that Teresa Heinz-Kerry has actually referred to herself as either an African American or an African-American, as opposed to, say, a South African American? Or is this something that was thought up by some pundant during the past election?---ricardomath

Teresa Heinz-Kerry spoke the words identifying herself as African-American. I believe John Kerry did as well though I won't swear to it.

I won't pickup the words of a 'pundit', because they clearly have other motives. The pundits did 'mention' it lightly, but my guess is it was politically 'too hot' to handle.


(2) What's the difference between an Irish-American and an Irish American? Do you have any links to any comentary by a US citizen of Irish descent making an issue of this distinction?

Just curious.---ricardomath

The term with a hyphen is the standard for designating the ancestral nationality of a person, or people. This is common knowledge. It is common usage.

I have never seen, or rather, I don't recall having seen the term without a hyphen. If I were to see it, I would conclude the user forgot. Or didn't know.

In our hegemony, terms like this and used without a hyphen are typically proper nouns, e.g. New York, San Francisco. It extends into world language as in San Salvador and St. Moritz, and Saudi Arabia.

Thus the difference between African-American and African American.

With the hyphen, it is the designation that describes/defines Teresa Heinz-Kerry.

Without the hyphen, it is a proper noun indicating a place, or circumstance. Without the hyphen, it is the designation that defines me, and all other Americans of unknown African ancestry.

It is an ancestral nationality.

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:

(1) Is there any evidence that Teresa Heinz-Kerry has actually referred to herself as either an African American or an African-American, as opposed to, say, a South African American? Or is this something that was thought up by some pundant during the past election?---ricardomath

Teresa Heinz-Kerry spoke the words identifying herself as African-American. I believe John Kerry did as well though I won't swear to it.

I won't pickup the words of a 'pundit', because they clearly have other motives. The pundits did 'mention' it lightly, but my guess is it was politically 'too hot' to handle.



Do you have a link? I do remember some white South African high school student in Omaha or something doing something like appliyng for some AA award or something like that. Presumably him and/or his friends thought that it would be funny, or wanted to ridicule the term African American or whatever.

Certainly, comments about this have been in the writings of alot of folks with agendas, and this has resulted in alot of comments about Teresa Heinz-Kerry being an African American, again by people with agendas of ridicule. (Wittness the threads about it on just about any internet bullitin board or forum.) I suspect that she was just a convienient target, because of her husband running in the last election. I haven't really seen anything that would indicate that she was the one that started the talk by applying the term to herself. And it would seem a bit odd for her to conciously invite controversey during the campaign. I suppose that somebody might have asked a leading question early on, and she may have agreed with the characterization before realizing where it came from (the hoopla from the SA student), and that she was being set up. But I actually haven't seen any evidence even of that, either.

Do you have a link to her actually referring to herself as an African American?

Because this really has the appearence of one of those internet rumours and legends.
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:


(2) What's the difference between an Irish-American and an Irish American? Do you have any links to any comentary by a US citizen of Irish descent making an issue of this distinction?

Just curious.---ricardomath

The term with a hyphen is the standard for designating the ancestral nationality of a person, or people. This is common knowledge. It is common usage.

I have never seen, or rather, I don't recall having seen the term without a hyphen. If I were to see it, I would conclude the user forgot. Or didn't know.

In our hegemony, terms like this and used without a hyphen are typically proper nouns, e.g. New York, San Francisco. It extends into world language as in San Salvador and St. Moritz, and Saudi Arabia.

Thus the difference between African-American and African American.


I tried typing "Irish-American" and "Irish American" (with the quotes in both cases) into google, and got what appears to be exactly the same list of 461,000 hits in both cases. I had hoped that the search engine would distinguish, but alas, it doesn't. Oh, well...

Clicking randomly on the websites, I found both "Irish American" and "Irish-American", in roughly equal numbers, with perhaps a slight lead for "Irish American".

Not only did the usage depend upon which website was clicked on, it was not even consistent within a particular website.
Not only did the usage depend upon which website was clicked on, it was not even consistent within a particular website.---ricardomath

So, you are saying that because the number of responses are essential equal, what?

Clearly, you have an issue.

What?

P.S. I googled African American. I got 3,580,000 hits. I googled African-American. I got 2,290.000 hits.

It seems like a matter of usage.

What did you conclude from your 'study'.


PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
Not only did the usage depend upon which website was clicked on, it was not even consistent within a particular website.---ricardomath

So, you are saying that because the number of responses are essential equal, what?

Clearly, you have an issue.

What?


I don't see the numbers beeing equal as signifying anything more than the design of the search engine, and how it deals with hyphens, although it is possible for all I know that the search engine does have some rudamentary semantical understanding of the terms and their usage. The search engine may very well know that people who search for one version are likely looking for websites that contain the other version, too. (That would indicate the the search engine assumes that the person doing the search doesn't know the difference, I suppose, even if the search engine itself does know the difference. After all, it presumably is designed to meet our needs.) I don't really know how smart such software really is.

So in practice, I would give it no significance whatsoever.

What does seem significant, if not in the existance or nonexistance of a rule in theory, at least in the use of such a rule in practice, is the distribution of usages of the versions on varous websites near the top of the list.

quote:
P.S. I googled African American. I got 3,580,000 hits. I googled African-American. I got 2,290.000 hits.

It seems like a matter of usage.


Then the usages should be predictable, not random. Parhaps they are predictable, but they seem pretty random to me. I don't see a pattern to their use in practice.

quote:
What did you conclude from your 'study'.


I didn't try "African-American" vs "African American". When I do (both enclosed with quotation marks), I get what appears to be identical lists, both 15,000,000 hits.

Of course, I get alot more if I google African American seperately, since then it will pick up any website where the two words occure, even if seperated by 15 paragraphs. (In fact, I get 17,900,000 hits in that case)

Clicking on a few sites near the top of the list at random, there is no pattern that I can detect about the use of "African American" vs "African-American". My provisional conclusion is that different people use different versions, without much concious thought, depending upon which they are used to using, or, like me, go back and forth more or less at random, not even noticing the difference unless they happen to use both forms in nearby sentences, so that the inconsistency in style sticks out like a sore thumb. In such a case, I generally change one of them to match the other to make my writing prettier. I imagine that others do much the same.

You may indeed be correct about there being some grammatical or semantical rule. But if there is, I suspect that not many people are aware of the rule, or make use of the rule in practice. I certainly can't detect differences in meaning and usage corresponding to the two variations in actual use on the webpages. It all seems pretty random, whether we are talking about AA's or IA's.
You may indeed be correct about there being some grammatical or semantical rule. But if there is, I suspect that not many people are aware of the rule, or make use of the rule in practice.---ricardomath

My reference to the rule as I applied to African American was the style, and practice applied to proper nouns.

I agree both your 'study' and mine can't conclulde a preferred practice. The examples of use in the names applied geographically still suggest the absence of the hyphen.

Certainly, I am not about to be convinced that Sao Paolo, or San Francisco is the same with or without a hyphen.

Whether by rule, or practice.

It all seems pretty random, whether we are talking about AA's or IA's.---ricardomath

Then, based on your conclusion, my job is clearly. Get rid of the random approach to the identity of Americans of unknown African ancestry.

I accept.

The Irish will have to sort out their own issues.

PEACE

Jim Chester
quote:
Originally posted by James Wesley Chester:
Is there an African American Ethnicity?

What is the African American Ethnicity?

Who are those of African American Ethnicity?

All are good questions.

Say James Old friend, as black people our ethnicity is black don't you agree? Personally I see all these labeling of black people as divisive. I call every black person of African origin - black. This way I don't have to worry calling people something they don't want to be labeled as.

There are Africans who are white and a huge majority of Africans are Arab in fact almost 70 percent of the Arab race is in Africa, they don't see themselves as you or I so they avoid calling themselves Africans and identify themselves simply as Arabs. The same goes for whites who are Africans, they don't say they are Africans they call themselves white. So should we do the same, we are black people. This way we don't need to worry where we are coming from.

Be it we are continental Africans or not we impart each other the same way and have a common destiny. Whenever others discriminate or treat you badly the same they would dish to me not because I come from another part of the world but because I look like you - another black man. No one is going to treat you differently because of how you choose to label yourself, it's all down to what society perceives you to be.
Say James Old friend, as black people our ethnicity is black don't you agree?

Greetings! I was thinking of you only recently.

Nooo. I not only don't agree. I can't agree.

Color is the American Way.

Color was imposed as THE standard of who you are as a tool/vehicle to establishing and maintaining dominance over Africans brought to the United States (then the colonies).

The English, Welsh, Scottish, the Danish, the Portuguese, and the Spanish, and others, bound themselves together with their color to exert clear dominance over our imported African ancestors.

Color is not an ethnicity.

Color is a tool, a mechanism, of socio-political construction for power.

Color has no flag, and its creed is dominance.


Personally I see all these labeling of black people as divisive. I call every black person of African origin - black.---h38

Including Teresa Heinz-Kerry the wife of the recent Democrat candidate for the U. S. Presidency? She was born in Mozambique.

She says she is African-American. (with a hyphen).


This way I don't have to worry calling people something they don't want to be labeled as.---henry38

That can be safe although it is not always accurate as evinced by Ms Heinz-Kerry.

This way we don't need to worry where we are coming from.---h38

I understand your point.

My distinction is 'black' is what I am/we are not who I am/we are.

I have no problem with being addressed, or referred to as 'black.' If the conversation goes on, however, I will find the opportunity to insert the fact that I am African American-American, AND be satisfied with leaving it at that.


No one is going to treat you differently because of how you choose to label yourself, it's all down to what society perceives you to be.---h38

I agree with the common treatment you describe. I disagree that treatment will not be different with how I choose to label myself.

On a one-on-one basis, that behavior will change immediately.

I acknowledge that the system will not react as quickly.

Numbers, however, will make even that happen just as soon as they are achieved.

Buying into the 'color' model is to defeat yourself.

At least in the United States.

PEACE

Jim Chester
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Who Is An African American? - Part 1
By Yoji Cole

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------

© 2005 DiversityInc.com

February 01, 2005

To answer the question in 21st-century America, look back to 17th-century British America and the colony of Virginia:



"In the early 1620s slave traders captured a man in Angola, gave him the name Antonio, and brought him to the Americas, where he was sold to a colonist in Virginia. During these early days in British North America, before the system of slavery was strictly codified, some bound Africans were treated much like indentured servants and were freed after a period of servitude ... By [1650] Antonio, a free man known as Anthony Johnson, was the owner of ... about 250 acres and the family held servants of their own ... When Anthony died in 1670 ... A white planter was allowed to seize the Virginia land because, the court said, as a black man, Anthony Johnson was not a citizen of the colony."



Hard Road to Freedom: The Story of African America



Johnson's story illustrates the life Africans faced after they were forcibly brought to this country, stripped of any connection to their families or cultures and forced to eke out an existence at the whim of people who considered them second-class human beings or sometimes less than human. Out of this system, enslaved Africans created a set of socially acquired values, beliefs, language, music, food and rules of conduct that created today's African Americans.



It is poetic justice that African-American culture has come to define the United States as much as the nation's white culture. Throughout their years in this country and through personal and cultural name changes, African Americans have shunned mainstream stereotypes and conventions, redefining their culture through music, fashion and educational and economic attainment.

"The United States has a two-category system, white and non-white, that comes out of the slave code," says Robert Allen, professor of ethnic and African-American studies at the University of California, Berkeley. "Race is a political category and not a biological category."

While biology only recognizes one race"”the human race"”politics recognizes several. The United States has been mired in racial politics since the 17th century, when the Virginia colony created laws that made slavery a birthright of black people. This construct remains today as Americans are asked to check off boxes to reveal their racial heritage.



The Evolution of Blackness



The creation of the African-American community, known during different times in history as the Negro, colored and black community, is conjoined with the evolution of whiteness in the United States. Around 1676, laws were enacted that separated African slaves from European indentured servants. Slavery not only became inheritable for "Negroes," but black people were punished more harshly for crimes and poor whites were given new rights and opportunities, including jobs as overseers to police slaves. As the importance of slavery grew, colonial laws that conflated being "white" with freedom created a culture based on white privilege and black subjugation. The Transatlantic Slave Trade was the first system in which all slaves shared similar physical characteristics and thus provided slave owners, legislators and judges a "race"-based reason to justify forced, life-long service.



Those mores became the basis of national law. For example, the U.S. Naturalization Law of March 26, 1790, mandated that states only could confer citizenship on aliens who were "free white persons." Citizenship was not extended to African slaves, indentured servants and most women, according to the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services.



"The nation's answer to the question 'Who is black?' has long been that a black is any person with any known African black ancestry," wrote F. James Davis, author of Who is Black?: One Nation's Definition. He continues, "This definition reflects the long experience with slavery and later with Jim Crow segregation. In the South it became known as the 'one-drop rule,' meaning that a single drop of 'black blood' makes a person black."




The "one-drop rule" made it impossible for the racially mixed children of an African slave and a white slave owner to claim they were white and, therefore, free. Most half-black and half-white children had black mothers. English law stipulated that a child's human status depended on the status of the father. In the course of the 17th century, however, the Virginia colony changed that law so that mixed children inherited the status of their black mothers. Then the Supreme Court legitimized the "one-drop rule" nationally with its ruling in Plessy v. Ferguson (1896), effectively establishing that whiteness meant no link to African blood.



Laws that defined who was white and black corralled black people into one non-white category that did not allow many opportunities for success. The Jim Crow era (beginning around 1877 and continuing into the 1960s) that created separate facilities for blacks and whites further entrenched the notion in the nation's collective conscious that people who had African blood were inferior to people who were white. Such laws and judicial decisions, along with a legal system that kept people captive based on their African features and lineage, effectively created the Negro community"”today, the African-American community.



African Americans have been defining and redefining who they are since the abolition of slavery provided the freedom to do so"”remember, Antonio changed his name to Anthony Johnson once he became free. As with Anthony Johnson, the constant renaming of the community is indicative of a people seeking to define themselves on their own terms. Historically, African Americans fought for their rights from the time they were enslaved. That struggle became the community's signature cause with the civil-rights movement, which largely was organized and led by the African-American church.



"The church was the only independent black institute and [the] only place where black folk could assemble that white folk couldn't control," says the Rev. Walter A. McCray, associate pastor of the Chicago-based First Baptist Congregational Church and president of the National Black Evangelical Association. "So the church became the hub of life in the black experience in America."



It should come as no surprise that the African-American community's most influential leaders came out of organized religion, whether it's the Christian church with leadership such as the Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. and the Rev. Jesse Jackson or the Nation of Islam with leaders such as Malcolm X.



"Black males who wanted a leadership role found it in the church, while white society precluded black males from that," says McCray.



Segregation was dealt a severe blow in 1954 with the Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka. That ruling made illegal all segregation in public schools, effectively overturning Plessy v. Ferguson. The African-American community continued to demand equality, however, and in 1964, President Johnson signed the most comprehensive civil-rights act to date. The act finally killed segregation by prohibiting discrimination in voting, education and the use of public facilities.
Kevin41, I should have known it would be you who would be the first to have something written by someone specifically addressing the issue.

Thanks

Now I'll read it.

Excellent. That goes to my archives.

There is lots of 'good stuff' here. I particularly found interest in the naming issue.

Antonio naming himself Anthony Johnson. That's big.

Freedom following the male in English law, and being reverse to make slavery follow the female.
That is a compounding, and founding rule.

No child of a white male could ever be a slave.

All children of black females shall be slaves as must all of their children male AND female.

"Such laws and judicial decisions, along with a legal system that kept people captive based on their African features and lineage, effectively created the Negro community"”today, the African-American community."---Yoji Cole

This addresses the issue of 'place' that is still weakly argued as a challenge to the validity of African America; as though 'place' is a requirement identity, ancestral nationality in particular.

As I now quickly point out, such is not the case for Persians, Jews, Kurds, and Palestinians.

Why us?


This gives credence to my basic conclusion that Americans who are African American are those of unknown African ancestry.

We are the descendants of those Americans of unknown African ancestry, and therefore are of unknown African ancestry.

PEACE

Jim Chester
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