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People of African Heritage: Present

Throughout history populations have often migrated beyond their homelands. However, the modern African diaspora the movement and dispersion of a population from their homeland is the result of very specific events; the transatlantic slave trade violently displaced over 12 million African people during the 15th century and beyond.

Many African American people living in the United States today are descended from those who were enslaved. Their ancestors lived through the era of Jim Crow Laws a practice or policy of segregating or discriminating against African Americans, as in public places, public vehicles or employment and their community has deeply felt the effects of structural racism and white supremacy a system of structural racism that keeps white people in social, economic and political power.

There is also a large portion of people in the United States who either are or are descended from African immigrants. African migration to the U.S. began significantly in the 20th century for a variety of reasons. People from certain countries have come voluntarily for economic or educational purposes, whereas others have come as asylum seekers or refugees escaping persecution and war.

It is important not to assume that all people of African heritage share the same background and experience the world in the same way. While there are commonalities that unite various communities of African descent, their histories and struggles against oppression are often very different.

Groups like Black Lives Matter work to bridge cultural divides and create solidarity between Africans from various countries and African Americans against intersectional the concept of taking into account an individual or group’s interconnected social identities to understand how they are impacted by systems of oppression systems of oppression. While acknowledging differences across intersecting identities, these grassroots groups unite Black folks globally to end anti-Black racism.