Monday, May 20, 2019
African American Culture Essay
Afri keister American culture in the United States includes the various social traditions of African cultural groups. It is both position of and distinct from American culture. The U. S. numerate Bureau defines African Americans as raft having origins in any(prenominal) of the down(p) race groups of Africa. 1 African American culture is indigenous to the descendants in the U. S. of survivors of the Middle Passage. It is rooted in Africa and is an amalgam of chiefly sub-Saharan African and Sahelean cultures.Although sla truly greatly restricted the ability of Africans in America to normal their cultural traditions, umteen practices, values and article of beliefs survived and over time have incorporated elements of European American culture. There argon notwithstanding certain facets of African American culture that were brought into being or do more prominent as a answer of sla rattling an example of this is how drumming became utilise as a means of communion and esta blishing a community identity during that time. The result is a dynamic, creative culture that has had and continues to have a sound wallop on mainstream American culture and on world culture as well.After Emancipation, these unequivocally African American traditions continued to grow. They certain into distinctive traditions in music, finesse, literature, morality, food, holi days, amongst other(prenominal)s. While for approximately time sociologists, much(prenominal) as Gunnar Myrdal and Patrick Moynihan, believed that African Americans had lost roughly cultural ties with Africa, anthropological field research by Melville Hersovits and others show that there is a continuum of African traditions among Africans in the clean World from the West Indies to the United States.The greatest enchant of African cultural practices on European cultures is form below the Mason-Dixon in the southeastern United States, peculiarly in the Carolinas among the Gullah people and in Louis iana. African American culture a lot certain separately from mainstream American culture because of African Americans desire to practice their own traditions, as well as the persistence of racial segregation in America. Consequently African American culture has become a significant p ruse of American culture and yet, at the same time, remains a distinct culture apart from it. archivesFrom the earliest days of hard workerry, slave owners sought to exercise control over their slaves by attempting to strip them of their African culture. The physical isolation and societal marginalization of African slaves and, subsequent, of their free progeny, however, actually facilitated the retention of significant elements of tralatitious culture among Africans in the New World generally, and in the U. S. in particular. Slave owners deliberately tried to thin political organization in order to deal with the many slave rebellions that overlyk place in the southerly United States, Brazil, Ha iti, and the Dutch Guyanas.African cultures,slavery,slave rebellions,and the civil rights movements(circa 1800s-160s)have shaped African American religious, familial, political and economic behaviors. The spring of Africa is unmistakable in myriad ways, in politics, economics, manner of speaking, music, hairstyles, fashion, trip the light fantastic, religion and worldview, and food preparation methods. In the United States, the very legislation that was designed to strip slaves of culture and deny them education served in many ways to build up it.In turn, African American culture has had a pervasive, trans divisionative impact on myriad elements of mainstream American culture, among them language, music, dance, religion, cuisine, and agriculture. This expandage of mutual creative exchange is called creolization. Over time, the culture of African slaves and their descendants has been ubiquitous in its impact on not only the dominant American culture, but on world culture as we ll. Oral tradition Slaveholders limited or prohibited education of enslaved African Americans because they believed it might lead to revolts or escape plans.Hence, African-based literal traditions became the direct means of preserving archives, m oral examinations, and other cultural in diversityation among the people. This was consistent with the griot practices of oral history in many African and other cultures that did not rely on the written word. nigh(prenominal) of these cultural elements have been passed from generation to generation finished storytelling. The folktales provided African Americans the opportunity to inspire and educate one another. Examples of African American folktales include trickster tales of Brer Rabbit and heroic tales such(prenominal) as that of buns hydrogen. The Uncle Remus stories by Joel Chandler Harris helped to bring African American folk tales into mainstream adoption. Harris did not appreciate the complexity of the stories nor their poten tial for a lasting impact on society. Characteristics of the African American oral tradition present themselves in a number of forms. African American preachers tend to perform rather than simply speak. The emotion of the subject is carried through the speakers tone, volume, and movement, which tend to mirror the rising action, climax, and descending action of the sermon.Often song, dance, verse and integrated pauses are placed throughout the sermon. Techniques such as call-and-response are used to bring the audience into the presentation. In direct contrast to recent tradition in other American and westbound cultures, it is an acceptable and commons audience reaction to interrupt and affirm the speaker. Spoken word is another example of how the African American oral tradition influences modern American popular culture. Spoken word artists employ the same techniques as African American preachers including movement, rhythm, and audience participation.Rap music from the 1980s and b eyond has been seen as an extension of oral culture. Harlem Renaissance pic Zora Neale Hurston was a prominent literary figure during the Harlem Renaissance. Main article Harlem Renaissance The first study public recognition of African American culture occurred during the Harlem Renaissance. In the 1920s and 1930s, African American music, literature, and art gained wide notice. Authors such as Zora Neale Hurston and Nella Larsen and poets such as Langston Hughes, Claude McKay, and Countee Cullen wrote playacts describing the African American experience.Jazz, gash, blues and other melodic forms entered American popular music. African American artists such as William H. Johnson and Palmer Hayden created unique works of art featuring African Americans. The Harlem Renaissance was also a time of increased political involvement for African Americans. Among the noteworthy African American political movements founded in the ahead of time 20th snow are the United total darkness Impr ovement Association and the landal Association for the Advancement of Colored People.The Nation of Islam, a notable Moslem religious movement, also began in the early 1930s. African American cultural movement The dark-skinned author movement of the mid-sixties and 1970s followed in the wake of the non-violent American Civil Rights Movement. The movement promoted racial self-conceit and ethnic cohesion in contrast to the focus on integration of the Civil Rights Movement, and adopted a more militant posture in the face of racism. It also inspired a new renascence in African American literary and artistic expression generally referred to as the African American or Black Arts Movement. The works of popular recording artists such as Nina Simone (Young, Gifted and Black) and The Impressions (Keep On Pushin), as well as the poetry, fine arts and literature of the time, shaped and reflected the growing racial and political consciousness. Among the most prominent writers of the African American Arts Movement were poet Nikki Giovanni poet and publisher Don L. Lee, who later became cognize as Haki Madhubuti poet and playwright Leroi Jones, later k like a shotn as Amiri Baraka and Sonia Sanchez. Other influential writers were Ed Bullins, Dudley Randall, Mari Evans, June Jordan, Larry Neal and Ahmos Zu-Bolton. around other major aspect of the African American Arts Movement was the infusion of the African aesthetic, a return to a collective cultural sensibility and ethnic compliment that was much in evidence during the Harlem Renaissance and in the celebration of Negritude among the artistic and literary circles in the U. S. , Caribbean and the African continent nearly four decades earlier the subject that black-market is beautiful. During this time, there was a resurgence of interest in, and an embrace of, elements of African culture within African American culture that had been suppressed or devalued to conform to Eurocentric America.Natural hairstyles, such as the afro, and African clothing, such as the dashiki, gained popularity. More of the essence(predicate)ly, the African American aesthetic encouraged personal pride and political awareness among African Americans. Music pic Men playing the djembe, a traditional West African drum adopted into African American and American culture. The bags and the clothing of the man on the right are printed with traditional kente cloth patterns. African American music is rooted in the typically polyrhythmic music of the ethnic groups of Africa, specifically those in the Western, Sahelean, and Sub-Saharan regions.African oral traditions, nurtured in slavery, encouraged the use of music to pass on history, teach less(prenominal)ons, ease suffering, and relay centers. The African pedigree of African American music is evident in several(prenominal) common elements call and response, syncopation, percussion, improvisation, swung notes, blue notes, the use of falsetto, melisma, and complex multi-part harmony. During slavery, Africans in America unify traditional European hymns with African elements to create spirituals. Many African Americans sing Lift Evry share and Sing in addition to the American national anthem, The Star-Spangled Banner, or in lieu of it.Written by James Weldon Johnson and John Rosamond Johnson in 1900 to be performed for the birthday of Abraham Lincoln, the song was, and continues to be, a popular way for African Americans to recall past struggles and express ethnic solidarity, faith and hope for the future. The song was adopted as the pitch blackness National Anthem by the NAACP in 1919. African American children are taught the song at school, church building or by their families. Lift Evry Voice and Sing traditionally is sung immediately following, or instead of, The Star-Spangled Banner at events hosted by African American churches, schools, and other organizations.In the 1800s, as the result of the blackface minstrel show, African American music ent ered mainstream American society. By the early twentieth century, several musical forms with origins in the African American community had transformed American popular music. Aided by the technological innovations of radio and phonograph records, ragtime, jazz, blues, and swing also became popular overseas, and the 1920s became known as the Jazz Age. The early 20th century also saw the creation of the first African American Broadway shows, films such as King Vidors Hallelujah, and operas such as George Gershwins Porgy and Bess.Rock and roll, doo wop, soul, and R&B developed in the mid 20th century. These genres became very popular in white audiences and were influences for other genres such as surf. The dozens, an urban African American tradition of using rhyming slang to put down your enemies (or friends) developed through the smart-ass street jive of the early Seventies into a new form of music. In the due south Bronx, the half speaking, half singing rhythmic street talk of rapp ing grew into the hugely successful cultural embrace known as Hip Hop.Hip Hop would become a multicultural movement. However, it is still important to many African Americans. The African American Cultural Movement of the 1960s and 1970s also fuel the growth of funk and later hip-hop forms such as rap, hip house, new jack swing and go go. African American music has experienced farthermost more widespread acceptance in American popular music in the 21st century than ever before. In addition to chronic to develop newer musical forms, modern artists have also started a rebirth of older genres in the form of genres such as neo soul and modern funk-inspired groups. Dance pic.The Cakewalk was the first African American dance to gain widespread popularity in the United States. pic African American dance, like other aspects of African American culture, finds its earliest roots in the dances of the hundreds of African ethnic groups that made up African slaves in the Americas as well as infl uences from European sources in the United States. Dance in the African tradition, and and then in the tradition of slaves, was a part of both every day life and special occasions. Many of these traditions such as get down, ring shouts, and other elements of African body language survive as elements of modern dance.In the 1800s, African American dance began to appear in minstrel shows. These shows ofttimes presented African Americans as caricatures for ridicule to large audiences. The first African American dance to become popular with snowy dancers was the cakewalk in 1891. Later dances to follow in this tradition include the Charleston, the Lindy Hop, and the Jitterbug. During the Harlem Renaissance, all African American Broadway shows such as Shuffle Along helped to establish and legitimize African American dancers.African American dance forms such as tap, a combination of African and European influences, gained widespread popularity give thanks to dancers such as Bill Robinso n and were used by leading White choreographers who lots hired African American dancers. Contemporary African American dance is descended from these earlier forms and also draws influence from African and Caribbean dance forms. Groups such as the Alvin Ailey American Dance Theater have continued to contribute to the growth of this form. modern font popular dance in America is also greatly influenced by African American dance.American popular dance has also drawn many influences from African American dance most notably in the hip hop genre. Art pic Sand Dunes at Sunset, Atlantic City by Henry Ossawa Tanner 1859-1937 From its early origins in slave communities, through the end of the twentieth century, African-American art has made a vital contribution to the art of the United States. During the period between the 1600s and the early 1800s, art took the form of small drums, quilts, wrought-iron figures and ceramic vessels in the southern United States. These artifacts have similariti es with comparable crafts in West and profound Africa.In contrast, African American artisans like the New Englandbased engraver Scipio Moorhead and the Baltimore portrait painter Joshua Johnson created art that was conceived in a thoroughly western European fashion. During the 1800s, Harriet Powers made quilts in rural Georgia, United States that are now considered among the finest examples of nineteenth-century sulfurern quilting. Later in the 20th century, the women of Gees Bend developed a distinctive, bold, and train quilting style based on traditional African American quilts with a geometric relaxation that developed separately but was like that of Amish quilts and modern art.After the American Civil War, museums and galleries began more ofttimes to display the work of African American artists. Cultural expression in mainstream venues was still limited by the dominant European aesthetic and by racial prejudice. To increase the visibility of their work, many African American artists traveled to Europe where they had greater freedom. It was not until the Harlem Renaissance that more whites began to pay attention to African American art in America. pic Kara Walker, Cut, Cut paper and adhesive on wall, Brent Sikkema NYC.During the 1920s, artists such as Raymond Barthe, Aaron Douglas, capital of Maine Savage, and photographer James Van Der Zee became well known for their work. During the Great Depression, new opportunities arose for these and other African American artists under the WPA. In later years, other programs and institutions, such as the New York City-based Harmon Foundation, helped to foster African American artistic talent. Augusta Savage, Elizabeth Catlett, Lois Mailou Jones, Romare Bearden, Jacob Lawrence and others exhibited in museums and juried art shows, and built reputations and followings for themselves.In the 1950s and 1960s, there were very few widely accepted African American artists. Despite this, The Highwaymen, a loose association of 27 African American artists from Ft. Pierce, Florida, created idyllic, quickly realized images of the Florida landscape and peddled some 50,000 of them from the trunks of their cars. They sold their art straightway to the public rather than through galleries and art agents, thus receiving the name The Highwaymen. Rediscovered in the mid-1990s, now they are know as an important part of American folk history.Their artwork is widely collected by enthusiasts and genuine pieces can easily fetch thousands of dollars in auctions and sales. The Black Arts Movement of the 1960s and 1970s was another period of resurgent interest in African American art. During this period, several African-American artists gained national prominence, among them Lou Stovall, Ed Love, Charles White, and Jeff Donaldson. Donaldson and a group of African-American artists formed the Afrocentric collective AFRICOBRA, which remains in existence today.The sculptor Martin Puryear, whose work has been acclaimed f or years, is being honored with a 30-year retrospective of his work at the Museum of Modern Art in New York starting November 2007. Notable contemporary African American artists include David Hammons, Eugene J. Martin, Charles Tolliver, and Kara Walker. Literature pic Langston Hughes, a notable African American poet of the Harlem Renaissance. African American literature has its roots in the oral traditions of African slaves in America. The slaves used stories and fables in much the same way as they used music.These stories influenced the earliest African American writers and poets in the 18thcentury such as Phillis Wheatley and Olaudah Equiano. These authors reached early high points by telling slave narratives. During the early 20th century Harlem Renaissance, numerous authors and poets, such as Langston Hughes, W. E. B. Dubois, and Booker T. Washington, grappled with how to respond to discrimination in America. Authors during the Civil Rights era, such as Richard Wright, James Bal dwin and Gwendolyn Brooks wrote about issues of racial segregation, heaviness and other aspects of African American life.This tradition continues today with authors who have been accepted as an integral part of American literature, with works such as grow The Saga of an American Family by Alex Haley, The Color Purple by Alice Walker, and Beloved by Nobel Prize-winning Toni Morrison, and series by Octavia butler and Walter Mosley that have achieved both crush-selling and/or award-winning status. Museums The African American Museum Movement emerged during the 1950s and 1960s to preserve the heritage of the African American experience and to ensure its proper interpretation in American history.Museums devoted to African American history are found in many African American neighborhoods. Institutions such as the African American Museum and Library at Oakland and The African American Museum in Cleveland were created by African Americans to teach and investigate cultural history that, u ntil recent decades was primarily preserved trough oral traditions. Language Generations of hardships imposed on the African American community created distinctive language patterns. Slave owners often intentionally mixed people who spoke dissimilar African languages to discourage communication in any language other than English.This, combined with prohibitions against education, led to the culture of pidgins, simplified mixtures of two or more languages that speakers of different languages could use to communicate. Examples of pidgins that became fully developed languages include Creole, common to Haiti,and Gullah, common to the Sea Islands off the coast of in the south Carolina and Georgia. African American Vernacular English is a type variety (dialect, ethnolect and sociolect) of the American English language c recidivately associated with the speech of but not exclusive to African Americans.While AAVE is academically considered a legitimatise dialect because of its logical s tructure, some of both Caucasians and African Americans consider it slang or the result of a poor command of Standard American English. Inner city African American children who are disjunct by speaking only AAVE have more difficulty with standardized testing and, subsequently school, contemptible to the mainstream world for work. It is common for many speakers of AAVE to code switch between AAVE and Standard American English depending on the setting. Fashion and aesthetics pic.A man weaving kente cloth in Ghana. Attire The cultural explosion of the 1960s saw the incorporation of surviving cultural dress with elements from modern fashion and West African traditional clothing to create a uniquely African American traditional style. Kente cloth is the best known African textile. These festive woven patterns, which exist in numerous varieties, were originally made by the Ashanti and Ewe peoples of Ghana and Togo. Kente fabric also appears in a number of Western style fashions rangin g from casual t-shirts to ball bow ties and cummerbunds.Kente strips are often sewn into liturgical and academic robes or worn as stoles. Since the Black Arts Movement, traditional African clothing has been popular amongst African Americans for both formal and informal occasions. Another common aspect of fashion in African American culture involves the appropriate dress for revere in the Black church. It is expected in most churches that an individual should present their best appearance for worship. African American women in particular are known for eroding vibrant dresses and suits.An interpretation of a release from the Christian Bible, every woman who prays or prophesies with her head uncovered dishonors her head , has led to the tradition of wearing elaborate Sunday hats, sometimes known as crowns. Hair Hair styling in African American culture is greatly varied. African American hair is typically composed of tightly coiled curls. The overabundant styles for women involve t he straightening of the hair through the application of heat or chemical processes. These treatments form the base for the most commonly socially acceptable hairstyles in the United States.Alternatively, the predominant and most socially acceptable practice for men is to leave ones hair natural. Often, as men age and begin to lose their hair, the hair is either closely cropped, or the head is shaved completely free of hair. However, since the 1960s, natural hairstyles, such as the afro, braids, and dreadlocks, have been growing in popularity. Although the association with radical political movements and their vast difference from mainstream Western hairstyles, the styles have not yet attained widespread social acceptance.Maintaining facial hair is more usual among African American men than in other male populations in the U. S. In fact, the soul bandage is so named because African American men, particularly jazz musicians, popularized the style. The favourence for facial hair amo ng African American men is due partly to personal taste, but because they are more prone than other ethnic groups to develop a condition known as pseudofolliculitis barbae, commonly referred to as razor bumps, many prefer not to shave. Body imageThe European aesthetic and attendant mainstream concepts of beauty are often at odds with the African body form. Because of this, African American women often find themselves under pressure to conform to European standards of beauty. Still, there are individuals and groups who are working towards raising the standing of the African aesthetic among African Americans and internationally as well. This includes efforts toward promoting as models those with clearly defined African features the mainstreaming of natural hairstyles and, in women, fuller, more well-endowed body types.Religion While African Americans practice a number of religions, Protestant Christianity is by far the most popular. Additionally, 14% of Muslims in the United States a nd Canada are African American. Christianity pic A river baptism in New Bern, brotherhood Carolina near the turn of the 20th century. The religious institutions of African American Christians commonly are referred tocollectively as the black church. During slavery, many slaves were stripped of their African belief systems and typically denied free religious practice.Slaves managed, however, to hang on to some practices by integrating them into Christian worship in secret meetings. These practices, including dance, shouts, African rhythms, and enthusiastic singing, remain a large part of worship in the African American church. African American churches taught that all people were equal in Gods eyes and viewed the doctrine of obedience to ones bounce back taught in white churches as hypocritical. Instead the African American church focused on the message of equality and hopes for a better future.Before and after(prenominal) emancipation, racial segregation in America prompted the d evelopment of organized African American denominations. The first of these was the AME Church founded by Richard Allen in 1787. An African American church is not necessarily a separate denomination. Several predominantly African American churches exist as members of predominantly white denominations. African American churches have served to provide African American people with lead positions and opportunities to organize that were denied in mainstream American society.Because of this, African American pastors became the bridge between the African American and European American communities and thus played a crucial role in the American Civil Rights Movement. ilk many Christians, African American Christians sometimes get in in or attend a Christmas play. Black Nativity by Langston Hughes is a re-telling of the classic Nativity story with gospel music. Productions can be found a African American theaters and churches all over the country. Islam pic A member of the Nation of Islam s elling intersection on a city street corner.Despite the popular assumption that the Nation represents all or most African American Muslims, less than 2% are members. Generations before the advent of the Atlantic slave championship, Islam was a thriving religion in West Africa due to its peaceful introduction via the lucrative trans-Saharan trade between prominent tribes in the southern Sahara and the Berbers to the North. In his attesting to this fact the West African scholar Cheikh Anta Diop explainedThe primary reason for the success of Islam in Black Africaconsequently stems from the fact that it was propagated peacefully at first by solitary Arabo-Berber travelers to certain Black kings and notables, who then spread it about them to those under their jurisdiction Many first-generation slaves were often able to retain their Muslim identity, their descendants were not. Slaves were either forcibly converted to Christianity as was the shimmy in the Catholic lands or were besieged with gross inconviences to their religious practice such as in the case of the Protestant American mainland.In the decades after slavery and particularly during the depression era, Islam reemerged in the form of passing visible and sometimes controversial heterodox movements in the African American community. The first of these of note was the Moresque Science Temple of America, founded by Noble Drew Ali. Ali had a profound influence on Wallace Fard, who later founded the Black nationalist Nation of Islam in 1930. Elijah Muhammad became head of the organization in 1934. Much like Malcolm X, who left the Nation of Islam in 1964, many African American Muslims now follow traditional Islam.A opinion by the Council on American-Islamic Relations shows that 30% of Sunni Mosque attendees are African Americans. African American orthodox Muslims are often the victims of stereotypes, most notably the assumption that an African American Muslim is a member of the Nation of Islam. They are of ten viewed by the uneducated African-American community in general as less authentic than Muslims from the Middle East or South Asia while credibility is less of an issue with immigrant Muslims and Muslim world in general. Other religions.Aside from Christianity and Islam, there are also African Americans who follow Judaism, Buddhism, and a number of other religions. The Black Hebrew Israelites are a collection of African American Judaic religious organizations. Among their varied teachings, they often include that African Americans are descended from the Biblical Hebrews (sometimes with the paradoxical claim that the Jewish people are not). There is a small but growing number of African Americans who participate in African traditional religions, such as Vodou and Santeria or Ifa and diasporic traditions like Rastafarianism.Many of them are immigrants or descendants of immigrants from the Caribbean and South America, where these are practiced. Because of religious practices, such a s animal sacrifice, which are no longstanding common among American religions and are often legally prohibited, these groups may be viewed negatively and are sometimes the victims of harassment. Life events For most African Americans, the observance of life events follows the pattern of mainstream American culture. There are some traditions which are unique to African Americans.Some African Americans have created new rites of passage that are colligate to African traditions. Pre-teen and teenage boys and girls take classes to prepare them for adulthood. They are typically taught spirituality, responsibility, and leadership. Most of these programs are modeled after traditional African ceremonies, with the focus largely on embracing African ideologies rather than specific rituals. To this day, some African American couples choose to jump the broom as a part of their wedding ceremony.Although the practice, which can be traced back to Ghana, fell out of favor in the African American c ommunity after the end of slavery, it has experienced a slight resurgence in recent years as some couples seek to reaffirm their African heritage. Funeral traditions tend to vary based on a number of factors, including religion and location, but there are a number of commonalities. Probably the most important part of decease and dying in the African American culture is the gathering of family and friends. Either in the last days before death or shortly after death, typically any friends and family members that can be reached are notified.This gathering helps to provide spiritual and emotional support, as well as assistance in devising decisions and accomplishing everyday tasks. The spirituality of death is very important in African American culture. A member of the clergy or members of the religious community, or both, are typically present with the family through the entire process. Death is often viewed as transitory rather than final. Many services are called homegoings, instead of funerals, based on the belief that the person is going home to the afterlife. The entire end of life process is generally treated as a celebration of life rather than a mourning of loss.This is most notably demonstrated in the New Orleans Jazz Funeral tradition where upbeat music, dancing, and food encourage those gathered to be joyous and celebrate the homegoing of a beloved friend. Cuisine pic A traditional soul food dinner consisting of heat up chicken, candied yams, collard greens, cornbread, and macaroni and cheese. The cultivation and use of many agricultural products in the United States, such as yams, peanuts, rice, okra, sorghum, grits, watermelon, indigo dyes, and cotton, can be traced to African influences.African American foods reflect creative responses to racial and economic oppression and poverty. Under slavery, African Americans were not allowed to eat better cuts of meat, and after emancipation many often were too poor to afford them. Soul food, a hearty cuis ine commonly associated with African Americans in the South (but also common to African Americans nationwide), makes creative use of inexpensive products procured through farming and subsistence hunting and fishing.