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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 African American generally denotes descendants of enslaved black people who are from the United States, while some recent black immigrants or their children may also come to identify as African-American or may identify differently.
African Americans constitute the third largest ethnic group and the second largest racial group in the US, after White Americans and Hispanic and Latino Americans. Most African Americans are descendants of enslaved peoples within the boundaries of the present United States. On average, African Americans are of West/Central African and European descent, and some also have Native American ancestry. According to U.S. 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 began in the 17th century, with Africans from West Africa being sold to European slave traders and transported across the Atlantic to the Thirteen Colonies. After arriving in the Americas, they were sold as slaves to European colonists and put to work on plantations, particularly in the southern colonies. A few were able to achieve freedom through manumission or escape and founded independent communities before and during the American Revolution. After the United States was founded in 1783, most black people continued to be enslaved, being mostly concentrated in the American South, with four million enslaved only liberated during and at the end of the Civil War in 1865. Due to white supremacy, most were treated as second-class citizens. The Naturalization Act of 1790 limited U.S. citizenship to whites only, and only white men who owned property could vote. These circumstances changed in Reconstruction, further development of the black community, participation in the great military conflicts of the United States, substantial migration out of the South, the elimination of legal 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 | Wikipedia