Pub. date: 2008 | Online Pub. Date: April 25, 2008 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412963879 | Print ISBN: 9781412926942 | Online ISBN: 9781412963879| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
African Americans are a people whose ancestors are from Africa. Although there are obvious mixtures among African Americans, the dominant ancestry of the people is from Africa. African Americans first used this term to define themselves, but for various reasons they have also used terms such as Negro, Colored, Afro-American, and Black at various times in their history. The most frequently used terms now are African American and Black, which are used interchangeably. The term African by itself is, to a lesser extent, used interchangeably with African American and Black by more culturally conscious African Americans. Approximately 35 million African Americans reside in the United States, constituting 12.3% of the total population, according to the 2000 U.S. Census. Most of them (88%) live in metropolitan areas. Approximately half of all African Americans live in the South. This entry reviews their history, from slavery through emancipation and ongoing struggles for equity ...