People, Races, Ethnicity in the U.S. Black or African Americans Part 3

About the black or African-Americans in the U.S. including where they are from, why they left, how many there are, famous African-Americans and more.


Although poll taxes and unfair literacy tests kept many blacks home on election day, those voting consistently lined up on the Republican side--the party of Lincoln--for decades. In fact, Franklin Roosevelt received very little black support his first time out. Barely one fifth of Chicago's blacks, for example, opted for FDR in 1932. But the New Deal and Eleanor Roosevelt's championship of black civil rights changed all that. In an unprecedented move, President Roosevelt appointed a "black cabinet" to advise him on black affairs. Blacks have voted over-whelmingly Democratic ever since.

The civil rights revolution of the 1960s resulted in an explosion of ethnic pride. Suddenly the television networks "discovered" blacks. Long lily-white, TV screens began to frame black faces regularly, and commercial watchers learned that blacks, too, use toothpaste and deodorants.

Today, 115 years after emancipation, blacks still suffer from discrimination in a variety of ways, most notably in housing, for open-housing laws have yet to crack most white suburbs. Whether blacks will continue to make strides depends largely on the availability of jobs and education.

The melancholy songs first sung by plantation field hands gave rise to the blues. Black musicians playing New Orleans in the 1890s improvised a new sound called jazz, which quickly absorbed ragtime and the blues to become America's first substantial contribution to music under the talents of "Jelly Roll" Morton and Louis "Satchmo" Armstrong, among others.

Black superstars have dominated professional sports since the leagues first integrated, and black talent has all but taken over professional boxing and basketball.

Blacks have long stood out in the entertainment industry. From Billie Holiday to Diana Ross, from Bert Williams to Ben Vereen, from "Rochester" (Eddie Anderson) to Richard Pryor, black performers have played to packed houses.

Famous Black Americans: Agronomist George Washington Carver, who saved the South from economic collapse with the introduction of peanuts and sweet potatoes to Southern agriculture; civil rights leader and Nobel Peace Prize-winner Martin Luther King. Jr.; Olympic track and field star Jesse Owens; baseball's all-time home-run king Hank Aaron; surgeon Dr. Daniel H. Williams, who performed the first open-heart surgery in 1893; inventors Jan Ernest Matzeliger and Elijah McCoy; singers Paul Robeson and Ella Fitzgerald; Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Gwendolyn Brooks; author Alex Haley; and mathematician-astronomer-inventor Benjamin Banneker, who produced an acclaimed almanac in 1791.

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