African American History in the U.S.

See the faces of just some of the many African Americans who have contributed to building the United States into the country it is today.
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African Americans in the early history of the United States had an extremely difficult start as immigrants. Having been primarily forced to immigrate to a new continent, African Americans worked through slavery to become a powerful force that influenced our nation to value equal rights among all men and women of all races.

Between 1555 and 1865, most Africans arrived in the Americas as the result of slavery. Overcoming slavery and the resulting prejudice, the African American community has greatly contributed to the art, culture, and economic growth of the United States.

In the 1930's, the newly formed employment and infrastructure Works Progress Administration (WPA) program paid people to interview living ex-slaves in the United States. Thanks to this initiative, we have a recorded history of slavery in the United States. Their narratives were powerful and show us all how recent the heritage of slavery really is and why it affects us all. Here is part of the narrative of one of these men and women:

"Well, Sir, Cap'n, I was born in Richmond, Virginny, in 1848. Befo' I was ole 'nuff to 'member much, my mammy wid me an' my older brudder was sold to Marse John Calloway at Snodoun in Montgomery County, ten miles south of de town of Montgomery.

Marse John hab a big plantation an' lots of slaves. Dey treated us purty good, but we hab to wuk hard. Time I was ten years ole I was makin' a reg'lar han' 'hin de plow. Oh, yassuh, Marse John good 'nough to us an' we get plenty to eat, but he had a oberseer name Green Bush what sho' whup us iffen we don't do to suit him . . .

Nawsuh, we didn't git no schoolin' 'cep'in' befo' we got big 'nough to wuk in de fiel' we go 'long to school wid de white chillun to take care of 'em. Dey show us pictures an' tell us all dey kin, but it didn't 'mount to much . . .

When de war started 'mos' all I know 'bout it was all de white mens go to Montgomery an' jine de army. My brudder, he 'bout fifteen year ole, so he go 'long wid de ration wagon to Montgomery 'mos' ebry week. One day he come back from Montgomery an' he say, 'Hell done broke loose in Gawgy.' He couldn't tell us much 'bout what done happen, but de slaves dey get all 'cited 'caze dey didn' know what to 'spect. Purty soon we fin' out day some of de big mens call a meetin' at de capitol on Goat Hill in Montgomery. Dey 'lected Mista Jeff Davis president an' done busted de Nunited States wide open.
" - Walter Calloway, Birmingham, Alabama interviewed by W.P. Jordan in the 1930's

From Dred Scott, Sojourner Truth, Frederick Douglass, Harriet Tubman, Booker T. Washington, George Washington Carver, and W.E.B. Du Bois through Langston Hughes, Thurgood Marshall, Rosa Parks, Jackie Robinson, and Medgar Evers to Martin Luther King Jr., Coretta Scott King, Hank Aaron, Maya Angelou, Oprah, and Barack Obama and countless others, African Americans have impacted the nation in uncounted ways. The narratives are powerful, and so are the pictures in these pages, showcasing the history of African Americans in the United States.

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A photo of Russell J. Moore with his wife Gwendoline Simms/Moore - wedding photo
People in this photo:
Jan 31, 1921 - Jan 29, 1994
This is an early photo of Mr Riley B. King (1925 - 2015) described as a blues singer, song writer, and guitarist - but better described as legend. B.B. King (his stage name) was born in Mississippi on a cotton plantation near the town of Itta Bena. His parents were sharecroppers. His recording career began with his first single in 1949. It took a couple of years for him to catch on, but when he did, a legend was born. He was married twice and had between 11 and 15 children. At the time of his death, on May 14th, 2015, he was living in Las Vegas. You could say "the thrill is gone" but his music and his guitar, Luciille, will be with us forever. Thank you, B.B!
People in this photo:
Sep 16, 1925 - May 14, 2015
A photo of an unknown slave woman with a child.
Added Oct 6, 2014 by: Betsy Washburn
Betsy Washburn
29 favorites
A photo of Roosevelt Fowler
People in this photo:
Mar 10, 1935 - Sep 17, 1987
Added Jun 10, 2014 by: Virtuous Jameelah
Virtuous Jameelah
2 favorites
A photo of Blondenia Lamour
A photo of Nora (surname unknown) in Lousiana,
Added Dec 16, 2013 by: Danny Risor
Danny Risor
29 favorites
Jimi Hendrix with Ron Gray and band members: My father, Ron Gray, was a concert promoter in the 1960's in central to northwest Louisiana (Monroe, Shreveport, etc). Jimi Hendrix played a concert in Shreveport, Louisiana on July 31, 1968. My father, Ron Gray, is standing next to Hendrix. Comments by Gary E. Gray.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
A photo of John Stroman Jr
People in this photo:
Sep 12, 1925 - Nov 22, 2010
Grandmother Rosa Williams; "Black Water area of" Perry County, Alabama, Mobile, Alabama.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
"Float like a butterfly, sting like a bee." Muhammad Ali certainly did when he took on the U.S. Supreme Court in 1971. Muhammad Ali, born Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr. on January 17th, 1942 is one of the most famous professional boxers of all time. Cassius Clay changed his name to Muhammad Ali after joining the Nation of Islam in 1964. In 1967, just a few years after the boxer won the World Heavyweight Championship, he refused to be drafted into the U.S. military, based on his religious beliefs and opposition to the Vietnam War.
People in this photo:
Jan 17, 1942 - Jun 3, 2016
This is a photo of Cleve Bailey added by Summer Bailey on November 24, 2020.
People in this photo:
Apr 27, 1920 - May 27, 2005
Added Nov 24 by: Summer Bailey
Summer Bailey
24 favorites
The 1974 Blytheville High School yearbook photo of Rosemary Hardin.
People in this photo:
Jun 17, 1957 - Apr 18, 2001
This is a photo of Mattie B Cummings added by Steven Brandon on September 30, 2020.
People in this photo:
May 26, 1896 - Aug 17, 1988
Added Sep 30 by: Steven Brandon
Steven Brandon
23 favorites
1982 Franklin High School yearbook photo of Princess Gray from Seattle Washington.
People in this photo:
Apr 12, 1965 - Apr 23, 2011
The Vocal Music club at Shaw High School. This photo is labelled as the "Rythm Teens" Row one: S. Al-Jeleel, T. Williams, M. Ivory, C. Jones Row two: G. Williams, A. Vernon, S. Leonard, P. Riggs, M. McKinley, Row three: T. Hatten, V. Thompson, C. Worthy, J. Johnson. I believe "C. Worthy" is Nakia Charlie Worthy
People in this photo:
Dec 2, 1974 - Jul 21, 2008
This is a photo of Gary Denard Swanson added by Denard Swanson on September 15, 2020.
People in this photo:
Sep 29, 1968 - Unknown
Added Sep 15 by: Denard Swanson
Denard Swanson
37 favorites
This is a photo of Thelma Alice (Weem) Swanson added by Denard Swanson on September 15, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jun 20, 1934 - Unknown
Added Sep 15 by: Denard Swanson
Denard Swanson
37 favorites
This is a photo of Shirley A Swanson added by Denard Swanson on September 15, 2020.
People in this photo:
Dec 25, 1954 - Oct 4, 2005
Added Sep 15 by: Denard Swanson
Denard Swanson
37 favorites
This is a photo of Delores M Mathews added by Wes Sams on September 15, 2020.
People in this photo:
Apr 13, 1930 - Aug 7, 2007
Added Sep 15 by: Wes Sams
Wes Sams
37 favorites
Vanessa Cook aka Ness passed away from Lupus related complications in 1998.
People in this photo:
Jan 26, 1968 - Nov 9, 1998
Added Sep 13 by: Daniel Pinna
Daniel Pinna
5.91k+ favorites
This is a photo of Gassaway Lewis added by Daniel Lewis on September 12, 2020.
People in this photo:
Apr 2, 1922 - Dec 21, 1990
Added Sep 12 by: Daniel Lewis
Daniel Lewis
21 favorites
This is a photo of Lakeisha S Beverly added by CaroliNa Rich on September 12, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jan 24, 1980 - Sep 22, 1997
Added Sep 12 by: CaroliNa Rich
CaroliNa Rich
21 favorites
This is a photo of Thurgood Marshall added by Amanda S. Stevenson on August 16, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jul 2, 1908 - Jan 24, 1993
Added Aug 16 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
10.9k+ favorites
This is a photo of Shirley Chisholm added by Amanda S. Stevenson on August 11, 2020.
People in this photo:
Nov 30, 1924 - Jan 1, 2005
This is a photo of Garland Mcafee added by Stephanie Eskridge on August 9, 2020.
People in this photo:
Aug 29, 1912 - May 1982
This is a photo of Knowledge Gipson Sr added by Valerie Leonard on August 4, 2020.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Feb 18, 2011
This is a photo of Nelda J Mundy added by Tamara Beasley on August 2, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jul 29, 1941 - Dec 30, 1996
Added Aug 2 by: Tamara Beasley
Tamara Beasley
4 favorites
This is a photo of Maggie (Porter) Tigney added by Christopher Hamilton on August 1, 2020.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
A photo of John Lewis being arrested by police in a1960s civil rights protest. To read his biography, click on his name (below and to the right). What a life!
People in this photo:
Feb 21, 1940 - Jul 17, 2020
He is my father William Adolphus Beckford with my 2 youngest siblings Viveen and Paulette...March 31,1920 -march 4,1999
People in this photo:
Mar 31, 1920 - Mar 4, 1999
Added Jul 26 by: Devon Beckford
Devon Beckford
3 favorites
This is a photo of Helen Perpie added by Juliana Perpie on July 24, 2020.
Added Jul 24 by: Juliana Perpie
Juliana Perpie
4 favorites
This is a photo of Wash Earl Wigfall added by Tershowra Newson on July 21, 2020.
People in this photo:
Feb 9, 1939 - 1986
This is a photo of Harold Edward Williamson added by Shirley Thomason on July 8, 2020.
People in this photo:
Feb 14, 1924 - Jul 17, 1956
This is a photo of Sylvia Anne Williamson added by Shirley Thomason on July 7, 2020.
People in this photo:
Dec 30, 1953 - Unknown
Added Jul 7 by: Shirley Thomason
Shirley Thomason
41 favorites
This is a photo of Sylvia Anne Williamson added by Shirley Thomason on July 7, 2020.
People in this photo:
Dec 30, 1953 - Unknown
Son of Peggy Underwood and Harold E Williamson
People in this photo:
Aug 19, 1960 - Unknown
Added Jul 7 by: Shirley Thomason
Shirley Thomason
41 favorites
This is a photo of Rosa Louise (Mc Cauley) Parks added by Amanda S. Stevenson on July 7, 2020.
People in this photo:
Feb 4, 1913 - Oct 24, 2005
Added Jul 7 by: Amanda S. Stevenson
Amanda S. Stevenson
10.9k+ favorites
This is a photo of Tyrone Anthony Young Jr. added by Gwendolyn Young on July 1, 2020.
People in this photo:
Apr 1, 1983 - Apr 3, 1984
Added Jul 1 by: Gwendolyn Young
Gwendolyn Young
39 favorites
This is a photo of Terrance Wicks added by Brittany Bryson on June 28, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jul 8, 1976 - Nov 24, 2010
This is a photo of Jamel L Collins added by Takeia Collins on June 24, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jun 22, 1978 - Aug 11, 1995
This is a photo of Joseph Walter Malveaux added by Byron Malveaux on June 23, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jan 6, 1937 - Feb 13, 2013
This is a photo of Ward F Sims added by Isaiah Sims on June 23, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jan 5, 1916 - Sep 8, 1999
Added Jun 23 by: Isaiah Sims
Isaiah Sims
3 favorites
This is a photo of Jim Robinson added by Tia Robinson on June 23, 2020.
People in this photo:
May 23, 1923 - May 28, 1991
Added Jun 23 by: Tia Robinson
Tia Robinson
3 favorites
Samuel Armstrong as a child standing in front of his father
People in this photo:
Jul 2, 1905 - August 1980
This is a photo of Samuel Armstrong when he was a young boy added by Carolyn Gaynor on June 9, 2020.
People in this photo:
Jul 2, 1905 - August 1980
A photo of Marvin Cunnigan
People in this photo:
1946 - September 1969
Added Dec 29, 2019 by: Michelle Cunnigan
Michelle Cunnigan
7 favorites
A photo of William H Wilson
People in this photo:
Jul 27, 1936 - Aug 23, 2000
A photo of Erma Thorne
People in this photo:
Mar 12, 1897 - Mar 11, 2000
Added Sep 7, 2019 by: Laurice Jones
Laurice Jones
5 favorites
A portrait of Joe A Counts and his wife Emma (Rivers) Counts.
People in this photo:
Unknown - Unknown
A Civil War veteran and free man, Lewis Martin was in an unmarked grave for 121 years until a community effort was made to mark his grave with a tombstone on November 2, 2013. Civil War veteran. Company E, 29th U.S. Colored Infantry. He was wounded in the Battle before Petersburg, Virginia (commonly The Battle of the Crater). He was sent to the General Hospital at Alexandria, Virginia and later transferred to Harewood Hospital in Washington, DC. He received a generous pension for his disabilities but never found work. He died from alcohol abuse, as was reported the local paper.
People in this photo:
1840 - 1892
Added Mar 12, 2019 by: Gaye Thomas
Gaye Thomas
344 favorites
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