English Across the Curriculum

African Americans

African Americans Today

Since the violent times of the 60s African Americans have made progress and improved their situation in every part of American life.

The largest cities, including New York, Chicago and Los Angeles have had black mayors. Colin Powell and Condoleezza Rice were two African Americans who became Secretary of State, and in 2009 Barack Obama became the first African American President of the United States.

Barack Obama - 44th President of the United States

In the film industry Halle Berry and Denzel Washington are among the most famous stars. Bill Cosby was the first African American with his own comedy show and Oprah Winfrey is the most famous and best-earning talk master on American TV.

Oprah Winfrey
https://www.flickr.com/photos/aphrodite-in-nyc [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia Commons

Blacks have dominated many sports as well. Boxer Muhammad Ali was heavyweight champion of the 60s and 70s. Basketball's Michael Jordan was probably the most successful player in NBA history.

Michael Jordan - One of America's greatest African American athletes
Steve Lipofsky at basketballphoto.com [CC BY-SA 3.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/3.0/)]

Despite these advances, about 25% of African Americans live in poverty. Discrimination still exists in many areas and the standard of living lags behind that of the white population. Compared to other groups, average income is much lower and the rate of unemployment higher. Nevertheless, African Americans have made big gains since slavery ended 150 years ago.