African American Characteristics Paper

Topics: African American, African American Vernacular English, American Civil War Pages: 7 (2553 words) Published: June 20, 2011
African American culture in the United States refers to the cultural contributions of Americans of African descent to the culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from American culture. The distinct identity of African American culture is rooted in the historical experience of the African American people. The culture is both distinct and enormously influential to American culture as a whole. African-American culture is rooted in Africa. It is a blend of chiefly sub-Saharan African and Sahelean cultures. Although slavery greatly restricted the ability of Americans of African descent to practice their cultural traditions, many practices, values, and beliefs survived and over time have modified or blended with European American culture. There are some facets of African American culture that were accentuated by the slavery period. The result is a unique and dynamic culture that has had and continues to have a profound impact on mainstream American culture, as well as the culture of the broader world" (Rydell, 2010). Learning Team B has chosen African Americans as the culturally diverse group we will focus on. The subjects in this paper will be African American history, family characteristics, parenting practices, language, and religion. Also, the primary characteristics of African Americans and how those characteristics impact their experience as a subculture in American Society will be a topic. The last topic will be the implications of the characteristics for psychological theories and practices. History

African Americans are the descendants of Africans brought to America during the slavery era. Many were owned as property and forced to work as day laborers in the fields or as servants in their owner’s homes. Others were allowed to work off their debts by being bough and sold on "the block". An article titled "The Slave Auction of 1859 gives a brief account of what it was to be sold on "the block": "The buyers, who were present to the number of about two hundred, clustered around the platform; while the Negroes, who were not likely to be immediately wanted, gathered into sad groups in the background to watch the progress of the selling in which they were so sorrowfully interested. The wind howled outside, and through the open side of the building the driving rain came pouring in; the bar down stairs ceased for a short time its brisk trade; the buyers lit fresh cigars, got ready their catalogues and pencils, and the first lot of human chattels are led upon the stand, not by a white man, but by a sleek mulatto, himself a slave, and who seems to regard the selling of his brethren, in which he so glibly assists, as a capital joke. It had been announced that the Negroes would be sold in "families," that is to say; a man would not be parted from his wife, or a mother from a very young child. There is perhaps as much policy as humanity in this arrangement, for thereby many aged and unserviceable people are disposed of, who otherwise would not find a ready sale..."(New York Daily Tribune, 1928). President Abraham Lincoln issued the Emancipation Proclamation on January 1, 1863, as the nation approached its third year of civil war. The proclamation declared "that all persons held as slaves" within the rebellious states "are, and henceforward shall be free." Despite this expansive wording, the Emancipation Proclamation was limited in many ways. It applied only to states that had seceded from the Union, leaving slavery untouched in the loyal border states. It also expressly exempted parts of the Confederacy that had already come under Northern control. Most important, the freedom it promised depended upon Union military victory. History pages often claim President Lincoln as "The Great Emancipator" which most educated adults come to learn is an over exaggeration. The general consensus is that Lincoln never freed a single slave, and only used the proclamation as a means to get what he wanted from the states. Once...

References: Fife, J., McCreary, M., Kilgour, J., Canter, D., & Adegoke, A. (2010). Self
Identification Among African American and Caucasian College
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Hall, G.C.N. (2010). Multicultural psychology (2nd ed.). Upper Saddle River, NJ:
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New York Daily Tribune, March 9, 1859 reprinted in Hart, Albert B., American History Told by Contemporaries v. 4 (1928). Retrieved from
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