Start My Family Tree Welcome to Geni, home of the world's largest family tree.
Join Geni to explore your genealogy and family history in the World's Largest Family Tree.

Notable African Americans

« Back to Projects Dashboard

Project Tags

view all

Profiles

  • Pvt. Lewis Martin (1840 - 1892)
    A Civil War veteran, Company E, 29th U.S. Colored Infantry ,Lewis was in an unmarked grave for 121 years until a community effort was made to mark his grave with a tombstone. His stone was dedicated in...
  • Wanda Yvette Sykes
    Wanda Sykes (born March 7, 1964) is an American writer, stand-up comedian, actress, and voice artist. She earned the 1999 Emmy Award for her writing on The Chris Rock Show . In 2004 Entertainment Weekl...
  • Samuel L. Jackson
    Samuel Leroy Jackson (born December 21, 1948) is an American actor and film producer. He achieved prominence and critical acclaim in the early 1990s with films such as Goodfellas (1990), Jungle Fever (...
  • Lamar Odom
    Lamar Joseph Odom (born November 6, 1979) is an American professional basketball player who is currently a free agent. He was named the NBA Sixth Man of the Year in 2011 and won the 2009 and 2010 NBA c...
  • 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...

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.