Portal:African American

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African Americans, also referred to as Black Americans or Afro-Americans, are citizens of the United States who have total or partial antebellum ancestry from any of the native populations of Sub-Saharan Africa.[1] Specifically, most African Americans are of West and Central African descent and are descendants of enslaved peoples within the boundaries of the present-day U.S.[1][2]

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African American Vernacular English (AAVE)—also called African American English; less precisely Black English, Black Vernacular, Black English Vernacular (BEV), or Black Vernacular English (BVE)—is an African American variety (dialect, ethnolect and sociolect) of American English. Non-linguists sometimes call it Ebonics (a term that also has other meanings or strong connotations) or jive or jive-talk. Its pronunciation is, in some respects, common to Southern American English, which is spoken by many African Americans and many non-African Americans in the United States. There is little regional variation among speakers of AAVE. Several creolists, including William Stewart, John Dillard, and John Rickford, argue that AAVE shares so many characteristics with creole dialects spoken by black people in much of the world that AAVE itself is a creole, while others maintain that there are no significant parallels. As with all linguistic forms, its usage is influenced by age, status, topic and setting. There are many literary uses of this variety of English, particularly in African-American literature.

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Pvt. Jonathan Hoag, 1944
Credit: Rutberg
"Pvt. Jonathan Hoag,...of a chemical battalion, is awarded the Croix de Guerre by General Alphonse Juin, Commanding General of the F.E.C., for courage shown in treating wounded, even though he, himself, was wounded. Pozzuoli area, Italy.", 21 March 1944


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We deem it a settled point that the destiny of the colored man is bound up with that of the white people of this country. ... We are here, and here we are likely to be. To imagine that we shall ever be eradicated is absurd and ridiculous. We can be remodified, changed, assimilated, but never extinguished. We repeat, therefore, that we are here; and that this is our country; and the question for the philosophers and statesmen of the land ought to be, What principles should dictate the policy of the action toward us? We shall neither die out, nor be driven out; but shall go with this people, either as a testimony against them, or as an evidence in their favor throughout their generations.
Frederick Douglass (c.1818–1895),
Essay in North Star (Nov. 1858); as quoted in Faces at the Bottom of the Well: The Permanence of Racism (1992) by Derrick Bell, p. 40.

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  1. ^ a b Gomez, Michael Angelo (1998). Exchanging Our Country Marks : The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South: The Transformation of African Identities in the Colonial and Antebellum South. University of North Carolina Press. p. 12. ISBN 0807861715. 
  2. ^ Rucker, Walter C. (2006). The river flows on: Black resistance, culture, and identity formation in early America. LSU Press. p. 126. ISBN 0-8071-3109-1. 
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