Lesser known facts about African American culture that'll make you appreciate it more!

Lesser known facts about African American culture that'll make you appreciate it more!

Updated on December 29, 2021 10:27 AM by Emma Alice

African Americans are one of the largest ethnic groups in the United States. They were brought from their homelands and enslaved. Yet, they made significant contributions to the culture and history of America.

Read on to know interesting facts about their culture.

African Americans had a tragic and heart-wrenching past

It is not unknown to the world that African Americans had a tragic and heart-wrenching past. The persecution, subjugation, and discrimination faced by them cannot be erased from their minds. Almost all of them who were brought to the United States was pushed into slavery. There have been books and poems written reflecting the poor and harsh living conditions of the African Americans before slavery ended. Even after all this, they contributed enormously to American culture.

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The European blend

The banjo is connected to African American culture; enslaved Africans created it; it has a West African heritage that blends European traditions.

Soul food

Yams and okra are a significant part of African-American cuisine. They like to call it their "soul food." During the slave trade,  the enslaved people were given meager food rations, and even after slavery ended, the African-Americans didn't have much money.  So, "soul food" is the ethnic cuisine of the Southern African-Americans and is the basic, inexpensive food. 

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The interesting African American accent

I am sure we all have noticed and, at times, tried to copy the African American English accent. Not only does it sound cool, but it also gives a distinct touch to it. The Africans who were born and brought up in the United States did not just blend in with American society; there were a lot of unique features that remained with them.  One such feature was their language and accent English. There was also a purpose of retaining it; this black English was their way to identify themselves as African Americans.

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Culturally prominent cities

When the African Americans moved to the north in search of work, they mostly settled in major cities like Chicago and New York. Hence, their culture is most prominent there.

The dynamic Jazz Age

Jazz music is another great contribution made by African-Americans to the world of music.  It is believed to have started in the African-American communities of New Orleans and Louisiana. According to historian Donald M Marquis, we have to thank "the first man of jazz," who was Buddy Bolden, a bandleader. Later, as widely known,  it gained popularity because of musicians like Louis Armstrong.  The 1920s and 1930s were filled with jazz music and dance styles; hence, they became known as the Jazz Age.

Harlem Renaissance

The cultural center for African-Americans was Harlem in New York. This was where the Harlem Renaissance happened, where artists, musicians, and writers emerged with new expressions and thinking that would change history forever.  The term 'renaissance' itself means a 'rebirth.'

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