Cultural institutions. The reasons for this shift included academic

Cultural
Study- African American

 

Education

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African
Americans didn’t always have the privilege of gaining an education. Going back
to the slave periods. Slave owners never allowed education. They did this for a
variety of reasons. The most important reason was rebellion. People thought if
they allowed slaves to become educated, they would use that knowledge and rebel
on their owners. This reason only made slaves desire an education even more.

 

Eventually,
a number of various black institutions were built to give blacks a better
opportunity of earning an education. These institutions were authorized by the
Freedmen’s Bureau and the American Missionary Association. These black
institutions separated schools that mainly relied on white benevolence.
Although these schools were ranked lower in academics compared to white
institutions, it still gave blacks hope.

 

During
the 1950’s,  more black students began to be accepted into large white
universities. During that time, universities would sometimes be forced to open
their enrollments to black students. This forced enrollment generally was
relegated to the larger university. Private colleges on the other hand never
publicly denied black students enrollment. They did, however segregate blacks
from the whites this was known as “de facto segregation”.

 

Before
the 1960’s some schools looked at their options with respect to the admission
of eligible black students. Eventually, black students begin to integrate on
white campuses. This was the major cause of the Great Migration, military
desegregation, and the economic gains of World War II.

 

The
1960’s saw a boom in black education. Black students began to get accepted into
predominantly white universities at greater rates. By the end of the decade a
majority of black students began to choosing white institutions over black
institutions. The reasons for this shift included academic statues, greater
availability of  financial aid, and more academic resources.

 

Many
people believe the death of Martin Luther King Jr. sparked these changes.
Campuses began to focus on  black political activity.  Increasing
black faculty, and the start of black studies programs.

 

Music

Music is very important in African American culture. The music tells stories
about the hard times and struggles faced by black americans. This music also
tells stories of the happy times faced as a group of people coming together.
African American music will continue to be celebrated throughout the
generations as in the past.

The Blues are seen as the most exemplary form of American music while being the
most versatile. The blues, like ” spiritual” are products of slavery. Despite
that, certain musical and lyrical pieces can be track down to West Africa. No
one actually knows where and when the blues originated. We do know that the
blues began in the south during slavery, and in the ensuing after slavery.
Throughout the these years the blues were spreading to different parts of the
country by “Bluesman”. Bunk Johnson, who was famous for playing just
Blues.

Moving towards the twentieth century, the blues grew by assimilating parts from
other music genres. These genres included Gospel, Ragtime, and Country style.
Early Blues were usually done acoustically. It soon became traditional for this
music to be created and performed by itinerant musicians. The music style
changed again from acoustic to electric. Electric blues was an art form created
by black to express themselves during the time they faced the most backlashed
within society. The blues soon took on classical, which was a form loved by
many female artist such as Ma Rainey, Bessie Smith, Alb Hunter, and Ethel
Waters, who all popularized classic blues. In the 1920’s classical blues sung
by women now became country blues popularized by artist who go by Charlie Jackson,
Blind Lemon Jefferson, and Robert Johnson. 

Rap is another form of American music, and is generally viewed as the most
complex. It is one of the biggest forms in the hip-hop culture. Rap borrows
many ideas from the African American musical traditions such as jazz, blues,
and of course soul. They combine these traditions with Caribbean Calypso, Dub,
and Dancehall Reggae. From 1995, two of the very first creators were West
Indies, DJ Kool Herc, and Grandmaster Flash.

Rap is associated with the tradition of “toasting”. Toasting is a way
to tell stories, which  are mostly political in content and hostile in
style. Battling was also very popular with early rappers and still is today.
This involves artist competing against each other to show off their verbal
skills and poetic ability. They often used disco jockeys to boost the audience
excitement. 

In the mid 1980’s a new age of rap evolved and rap became mainstreamed It was a
new age of rap. In different regions, local crews tried to fight for dominance
in the rap world. The most famous rivalry(West Coast vs East Coast). The west
coast consisted of many influential rappers like Dr Dre, Ice Cube, and Eazy- E.
While the east coast held some names like Run D.M.C, Nas, and DMX.

“America’s Classical Music” also known as Jazz, is one of the most
inventive and complex form of music this country has created. The origin of
Jazz is still unknown, but it blends the musical tradition of black New Orleans
with the creative technique of the blues. Among these performers were two very
influential jazz groups: The Dixieland Jazz Band and King Oliver’s Creole Jazz
band.

During the 1940’s and 50’s the Big Band sound, the latest form of jazz.
Appeared soon after jazz artist began to test standard chord and scale
structure and the rhythms of traditional jazz. The outcome was called
“free jazz”. This was a try to rise upon the art and technique
aspects of  bebop. Some free – jazz artist to name were Sun-Ra and his
Arkestra, the saxophonist, Ornette Coleman and Albert Ayler, and the bassist,
Charlie Mingus.

 

Politics
and Government

 

During
the early 1800’s the thought of having black politicians weren’t even thought
of. An even crazier idea during this time would be having blacks as government
officials. Throughout these years up until 1883, slavery was on the rise and
black rarely would get these opportunities.

In
1863 slavery was finally abolished under the 13th amendment. 2 years later in
1865 the Voting Act Right was approved by President Lyndon Johnson, allowing
black men the right to vote under the 15th amendment.

 

It
was until 1870, Hiram R. Revels became the first African American senator, a
republican representing Mississippi. While in office Revels made several
contributions to the black community. Revels partnered with the Freedman’s
Bureau to help create schools for African American children in Mississippi.
Revels also served as a minister at the African Methodist Episcopal church. One
year later after becoming senate, Revele resigned to take on a job as a
college administrator.

 

In
1870, even more achievements and first were to come for African Americans in
the political field. Joseph Rainey was another Republican, born in South
Carolina. He became the first African American to be elected to the House of
Representatives. While there, Rainey fought for blacks by protecting them from
radical laws that supported racial discrimination. Rainey earned major
recognition from when he worked on the Committee of Freedmen’s affairs, it was
created to handle all legislations involving newly freed slaves. Rainey’s last
two terms were destroyed when society pushed blacks into slave-like conditions,
causing him to resign. Joseph Rainey was the longest serving African American
senate during this period.

In 1920, was the year American women were given the right to vote. The right
was permitted under the 19th Amendment. It wasn’t until 1968, Shirley Chisholm
became the first African American women to be elected to the House of
Representatives. Chisholm accomplished achievements, like being the first
African American to make the keynote speech. In 1972, Chisholm made a major
lifetime achievement by being the first African American from a popular
political party to run for president.

 

Traditions

 

In
African american culture, our traditions are probably one of the most important
things we carry. A very old tradition that was started by African Americans is
the Oral Tradition. The purpose of the traditions was to keep stories alive.
Back then people couldn’t write so the older generations would tell stories to
younger generation. The plan was for the younger generation to memorize the
stories, so they could keep them alive, by retelling them. Storytelling came in
all forms of poetry, chants, and even dance,

 

Another
African American tradition is dance, probably the most popular of all the
African American traditions. Earliest roots in dances comes from African ethnic
groups, from all over. Dance was celebrated on special occasions and in
everyday life as a tradition of slaves. One of the first dances from black
culture to become popular was the “Cakewalk.” It became very popular with white
dancers, despite being created by blacks. Some other famous dances to mention
created by black dancers is the Lindy Hop, Jitterbug, and many forms of tap.

 

It
wasn’t until the 1960’s, when African American began creating modern styles of
clothing taking West African elements and making them into their own. These
clothing were very popular especially during the Black Arts Movement. These
clothing were also used for formal and informal wear.

 

When
it came to hair in African American communities, hairstyles like afros, braids,
and dreadlocks weren’t socially accepted before the 1960’s. So black women
began straightening their hair using heat and process chemicals. In the 1960’s
it then became a popular movement for black women to start protecting their
hair in styles such as dreads and braids.

 

Sports

 

Black
Americans have excelled in every aspects of sports. Including boxing, track,
and even baseball. It was until Jackie Robinson broke many barriers when he
became the first black athlete to play in the MLB. In 1947 Robinson played for
the Brooklyn Dodgers. Soon after he was named Rookie of the Year. He achieved
many other accomplishments by being named National League MVP, and A World
Series Champ. Robinson is today considered a legend among other great athletes
in history.

 

Jessie
Ownes another black athletes who excelled in track and field, with a list of
accomplishments. In high school Owens became widely recognized for his setting
records in sprinting, while also competing in the long jumps. When he enrolled
at Ohio State he was on  to becoming a rising star.  Soon afterwards,
he competed in the Berlin Olympics, where he dominated winning four gold medals
and breaking two olympic records.

 

Wilma
Rudolph was another famous track and field star. In 1960, Rudolph became the
first American women to obtain three gold medals at a single Olympic Games.
When Rudolph was young she was became sick, which caused her to wear braces on
her left leg. Spending years working through physical therapy Rudolph finally
overcame her disability. Rudolph then went on  to become one of the most
influential tack runners, with several life time achievements.

Rudolph
later became a teacher and worked as a track coach.