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Notable African Americans

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  • Meghan, Duchess of Sussex
    Rachel Meghan Markle is an American actress and humanitarian campaigner. She helped children in India have supply to clean filtered water. Markle was born and raised in Los Angeles, California. She g...
  • Laverne Cox
    Laverne Cox is a two-time Emmy-nominated actress and Emmy-winning producer. She is best known for her work on the critically acclaimed Netflix original series, "Orange is The New Black," where she play...
  • Freddie Stowers, Medal of Honor (1896 - 1918)
    Freddie Stowers (1896–September 28, 1918) was a Corporal in the United States Army who posthumously received the Medal of Honor for his actions in World War I while serving in an American unit under Fr...
  • Frances Albrier (1898 - 1987)
    Frances Mary Albrier (September 21, 1898, Mount Vernon, New York-August 21, 1987) was a civil rights activist and community leader. Albrier was born in Mount Vernon, New York in 1898, and was raise...
  • Josephine Anderson Pearson (1868 - 1944)
    Educated at Gallatin Female College ca. 1880 Graduated with B.A. degree from Irving College in McMinnville, Tennessee 1886 Graduated with M.A. degree from Cumberland College in Lebanon, Tennessee Stu...

African Americans (also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans) are an ethnic group of Americans with total or partial ancestry from any of the Black racial groups of Africa. The term may also be used to include only those individuals who are descended from enslaved Africans. As a compound adjective the term is usually hyphenated as African-American.

Black and African Americans constitute the third largest racial and ethnic group in the United States (after White Americans and Hispanic and Latino Americans). Most African Americans are of West and Central African descent and are descendants of enslaved peoples within the boundaries of the present United States. On average, African Americans are of 73.2–80.9% West African, 18–24% European, and 0.8–0.9% Native American genetic heritage, with large variation between individuals. According to US Census Bureau data, African immigrants generally do not self-identify as African American. The overwhelming majority of African immigrants identify instead with their own respective ethnicities (~95%). Immigrants from some Caribbean, Central American and South American nations and their descendants may or may not also self-identify with the term.

African-American history starts in the 16th century, with peoples from West Africa forcibly taken as slaves to Spanish America, and in the 17th century with West African slaves taken to English colonies in North America. After the founding of the United States, black people continued to be enslaved, with four million denied freedom from bondage prior to the Civil War. Believed to be inferior to white people, they were treated as second-class citizens. The Naturalization Act of 1790 limited U.S. citizenship to whites only, and only white men of property could vote. These circumstances were changed by Reconstruction, development of the black community, participation in the great military conflicts of the United States, the elimination of racial segregation, and the Civil Rights Movement which sought political and social freedom. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected president of the United States.