Africans in America
Six times a year, the editors of the Oxford African American Studies Center provide insights into black history and culture, showing ways in which the past and present interact by offering specially commissioned featured essays, photographic essays, and a selected list of articles that will further guide the reader. The latest Focus On looks at Africans who flourished in America.
In this essay, Steven Niven, the executive editor of the African American National Biography and the recently-published Dictionary of African Biography, constructs a mosaic of African lives that have shaped the history of America.
Beginning in the Age of Discovery and moving through the colonial period, the American Civil War, and Reconstruction, all the way through to the present day, Niven demonstrates the various ways in which African men and women have left their mark on American literature, scientific research, athletics, medicine, and religion.
The essay is a striking reminder of the wide range of experiences that have brought people to North America, as well as of the diversity of opportunity that this land has afforded through the centuries.Read full essay
The following entries have been selected to help guide readers who want to understand more about the lives and history of notable Africans who have lived in America.
(Access to the following articles is available only to subscribers.)
Primary Source Documents