African-American Studies

Topics: African American, African American history, Black church Pages: 6 (1946 words) Published: December 12, 2005
African-American Studies
The aspect of African-American Studies is key to the lives of African-Americans and those involved with the welfare of the race. African-American Studies is the systematic and critical study of the multidimensional aspects of Black thought and practice in their current and historical unfolding (Karenga, 21). African-American Studies exposes students to the experiences of African-American people and others of African descent. It allows the promotion and sharing of the African-American culture. However, the concept of African-American Studies, like many other studies that focus on a specific group, gender, and/or creed, poses problems. Therefore, African-American Studies must overcome the obstacles in order to improve the state of being for African-Americans.

According to the book, Introduction to Black Studies, by Maulana Karenga, various core principles make of the basis of African-American Studies. Some of the core principles consist of 1)history, 2)religion, 3)sociology, 4)politics, and 5)economics. The core principles serve as the thematic "glue" which holds the core subjects together. The principles assist with the expression of the African-American Studies discipline (Karenga, 27).

The core principle of history is primary factor of African-American Studies. History is the struggle and record of humans in the process of humanizing the world i.e. shaping it in their own image and interests (Karenga, 70). By studying history in African-American Studies, history is allowed to be reconstructed. Reconstruction is vital, for over time, African-American history has been misleading. Similarly, the reconstruction of African-American history demands intervention not only in the academic process to redefines and reestablishes the truth of Black History, but also intervention in the social process to reshape reality in African-American images and interests and thus, self-consciously make history (Karenga, 69). African American History or Black American History, a history of African-American people in the United States from their arrival in the Americas in the Fifteenth Century until the present day. In 1996, 33.9 million Americans, about one out of every eight people in the United States, were African-American. Although African-American from the West Indies and other areas have migrated to the United States in the Twentieth Century, most African- Americans were born in the United States, and this has been true since the early Nineteenth Century. Until the mid-20th century, the African-American population was concentrated in the Southern states. Even today, nearly half of all African-Americans live in the South. African-Americans also make up a significant part of the population in most urban areas in the eastern United States and in some mid-western and western cities as well .Africans and their descendants have been a part of the story of the Americas at least since the late 1400s. As scouts, interpreters, navigators, and military men, African-Americans were among those who first encountered Native Americans. Beginning in the colonial period, African-Americans provided most of the labor on which European settlement, development, and wealth depended, especially after European wars and diseases decimated Native Americans ( Thus, history plays a role in the way African-Americans have shaped the world over time.

The core concept of African-American religion has always played a vital roles in the African-American life since its beginnings in Africa. Religion is defined as thought, belief, and practice concerned with the transcendent and the ultimate questions of life (Karenga, 211). The vast majority of African Americans practice some form of Protestantism. Protestantism's relatively loose hierarchical structure, particularly in the Baptist and Methodist denominations, has allowed African Americans to create and maintain separate churches. Separate churches enabled blacks...

Cited: DeBose,Brian."Reclaiming the Mission".
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Franklin, John Hope. From Slavery to Freedom. Nashville, TN: McGraw-Hill, 2000.

Giddings, Paula. When and Where I Enter . New York:Perrenial, 1984.
Karenga, Malauna. Introduction to Black Studies. Los Angeles: University of Sankore Press –Third Edition, 2002.
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