These are people holding an African ancestry despite the fact that most of them do not know they have African ancestors. The origin of Africans in America is deemed to have been perpetuated by the ancient slave trade. As a matter of fact, these African Americans are mostly descendants of slaves. Slaves are the people that were forced into other countries (new world) to do manual work like farming. These slaves were very constrained in the new world with their rights severely limited and denied the rightful economic, political and social progress in the United States, for this matter. Despite all these challenges, these African Americans have made significant and lasting contributions to the American culture and history.
It had taken decades and decades for African Americans to be recognized in American History. It was in 1926 when Dr. Carter G. Woodson take note of this failure and initiated Black History Month. This was a way of recognizing and honoring many iconical accomplishments that the African Americans had achieved in the midst of irritable pain in the United States’ history.
The contributions that African Americans have made to the history of America are so celebrated to date. In the television and film industry, for instance, African Americans have made enormous contributions. Nat King Cole is known to be the first African American entertainer having taken part in couple of television series between 1956 and 1957 (Hollis, 2018). Additionally, he was a great singer owning an excellent talent despite the challenges of attracting sponsors for the simple reason of being black.
After Cole passed away, the followed decades were marked by a high rise of African American celebrities who predominated the entertainment industry. Between 1972 and 1977, Redd Foxx and Desmond Wilson held the principal performers of a popular series – Sanford and Son. A most acclaimed and popular weekly show – The Cosby Show – that showed between 1984 and 1992 starred Bill Cosby, an African American comedian. Keenen Ivory Wayans who starred In Living Color, a comedy show, was the first African American to win an Emmy Award in the year 1990. Another comic show that caught the attention of many Americans was the Bernie Mac Show that starred a sitcom comedian, apparently an African American Bernie Mac. In 2001, he even won a Peabody Award. The famous “Roots”, a dramatic telecast show that was the most-watched in America within 1977 had been authored by Alex Haley who was from the African Ancestry. As a matter of fact, this show which had 7 different parts informed the other African Americans of the rich African American cultural heritage (Hollis, 2018).
In broadcast and journalism, African Americans did not lag behind. Some celebrated achievements include; one personality contracted in 1981 (Ed Bradley) as an interviewer of the television news mag “60 Minutes”. Bryant Gumbel also became a co-host of a shown in 1982 known as “The Today Show.” Oprah Winfrey, celebrated to date, started off a local news anchor. Later on in the 1980s, she began her show “talk show” which was very popular as a cultural phenomenon (Hollis, 2018).
The game continues and she grew to establish her television in America as well as film production companies. Eventually, she developed her own entertainment empire which developed her as one the richest and influential women in the country. Oprah is celebrated even to date. These films have had great significance to the Americans. Notably, Blaxploitation films like the “Superfly” gathered a very large audience in the 1970s although the kind films were unable to address the daily experiences that most African Americans passed through. Performing “Monster’s Ball” of 2001, Halle Berry was celebrated as the first African American actress to win an Academy Award as the best actress category. Other famous and liked actors of this current century include Morgan Freeman, Will Smith, Denzel Washington among many others. Spike Lee is a very innovative director, writer, and actor of African origin. Other directors who have total control over the production of content include John Singleton and Matty Rich (Hollis, 2018).
In Sports, African Americans have exemplified their talents making a great contribution to the culture of Americans. The barrier that constrained the African Americans was broken down by Jackie Robinson in the major baseball league, 1947. Most professional sport teams are currently dominated by the African American athletes. In basketball history, the majority of the outstanding players have been African Americans.
The likes of Bill Russel, Michael Jordan, Kobe Bryant, Wilt Chamberlain, LeBron James; the list is endless. These players have set records that will never be forgotten in the history of America. They are celebrated up to date with their names and pictures used in the advertisement of different brands like Nike. In bases ball, Hank Aaron an African American has maintained a track of excellence from 1974 to 2007 when he was thrown off by Barry Bonds, another African American. Top weightlifters in American have been African Americans from Joe Louis’s time around 1930.
Jack Jackson had actually come earlier than the 1930 as a champion weightlifter. Everyone recalls Mohammad Ali, a most famous heavyweight champion of the world. Today, most of us celebrate Serena Williams in the Tennis game not aware of other iconic legendaries like Arthur Ashe and Althea Gibson who have also made a great impact in the game. In athletics, African Americans were not left behind as well. Since Jesse Owens 4 gold medal wins in an Olympic event in 1936, there has been a record of African Americans winning similar trophies.
Wilma Rudolph won the first gold medal in 3 tracks in 1960 making a record for the African American women in the sports industry in America. In a nutshell, African Americans have contributed massive devotion to ensure continuity of the sports industry in America. Actually, it can be argued that they worked tirelessly to ensure that the industry becomes reputable to the participants – promoting culture and creating sustainable livelihood strategies for talented African Americans (Hollis, 2018 & Tate, 2018).
Sailing in an ocean of social and economic challenges day after the other, the African Americans continued to exemplify their loyalty to the constitution of America. They performed their obligations as citizens including taking part in political responsibilities as the other citizens. It all began in the registration as voters where the African Americans came together to support the affairs of the country while heartedly. The first lot to register as voters in 1960 was about 28 percent of the entire African American population in America. At that time, hundreds of them were appointed as election officials. In 1969, when the other voting period approached, the African American registrants increased significantly over a double; at the same time, 1,185 of them were elected in state and local offices. This was a great contribution in serving the American people and country.
In due process and events, African Americans earned spectacular electoral gains. Walter Washington was appointed as the first African American chief executive officer of Washington D.C. in 1967. Other cities followed suit and elected African Americans in different posts. It was in Cleveland that Carl Stokes was, through the electoral process, made the city’s Mayor in 1967. In the same year, Richard Hatcher was also elected as one in Indiana. Others included Kenneth Gibson of Newark in 1969, Coleman Young of Detroit, Tom Bradley of Los Angeles, and Jackson Maynard of Atlanta all of which happened in 1973. They were so many with some women mayors as well.
Carrie Saxon of Hartford Connecticut was the first African American woman to be elected Mayor of a big city in the year 1987. David Dinkins, an African American was elected as a mayor of America’s big-city – New York – when he beat his opponent in 1989. The African Americans continued to show their quest I serving the people of America. They rose to varsity and reclaimed for higher political posts. In the year 1982, Bradley attempted the Californian governor position but he, unfortunately, lost despite much desire. It did not take long before Douglas Wilder ran through for the same position but in Virginia and won his dream and desire (Tate, 2018).
In the national level, they fought for representation as well. Edward Brooke of Massachusetts was elected the first African American senator after the Reconstruction period. He served the people of America from 1967 to 1979. The people of Illinois beat the odds in 1992 and elected the first African American woman to the Senate – Carol M. Braun. In 967, Thurgood Marshall was elected the first African American in the Supreme Court. After retiring, his position was filled by a man from the same ethnicity – Clarence Thomas (Tate, 2018).
Robert Weaver was the first presidential cabinet member of the African American race. He was the Housing & Urban Development Secretary (HUD) in 1966. 11 years later, the first African American woman to be appointed into the cabinet in the same position as Weaver’s was Patricia R. Harris. Colin Powell is celebrated to have been the first African American to enjoy the highest military position in America – chairman of Joint Chiefs of Staff – a position he earned in 1989 when he was a 4-star general in the army. Powell further became the first African American secretary of state in 2001 (Tate, 2018). There was an African American succession here, I must state since after Powell’s service, Condoleezza Rice the first African American woman succeeded him.
The most iconic position that marked the climax of African American contribution to American politics was the Barack Obama’s presidential victory in 2008. Having a Kenyan background, Obama once enjoyed a first-term senatorial position of Illinois faired by the Democrats in the country. He then was selected as the presidential candidate of the party and through all glory, he tremendously won the presidency. This was lauded as a great leap that leveraged the African American’s stay in the United States. His leadership was a great contribution that is much celebrated (Mendell, 2017).
Al these contributions discussed above have had a great significance to the American culture. To begin with, the film and television industry is acknowledged as a multibillion-dollar industry that has for years shaped American talents, entertained the Americans and earned the economy huge money that adds up to the country’s Gross Domestic Product. Despite that, this industry has provided a sustainable livelihood system for the people who have talent in such careers. This is a national contribution to the reduction of unemployment rates among the youths in the country. The African Americans must be celebrated for their brands in the industry and having worked through to ensure that the industry picks and sustains this iconic development. Thumbs up for people like Oprah Winfrey who, above developing industry empires, they have formed a ground for motivation and the development of talent – realization of worth.
In a similar way, the sports industry has evolved from scratch to the big industry that is recognized globally, today courtesy of the African Americans. They have changed lifestyles and the culture of many people not only in America but the world over. Right from their contributions to the economy to the fulfillment of individual countrymen’s goals. As a matter of fact, the great talents that take part in sports and athletics are today respected in the society since they enjoy non-comparable salaries and allowances. I imagine, for instance,
Mayweather’s sire line and I am like “damn those guys are millionaires regardless of their age!” Historically, these contributions have maintained a certain continuity and allowed an opportunity for furthering the industry. Today, there is a lot of sports activities in the industry that have been invented within this platform that these guys initiated. Most importantly, the sports activities have improved the word cohesion. People have come from different countries to take part in similar sporting activities hence finding a platform to socialize and know much about their fellows. As a matter of fact, people have been able to learn and benchmark on certain matters that are helpful into their countries. Cultures have been shared throughout the world as a result of coming together.
The significance of historical mileages that African Americans took can be summarized as in the below paragraph. The story of the African Americans has been kept from the political contributions that they made in the United States and can be accessed from the country’s museums. This is like a celebration of the African American race which gives the current citizens the desire to keep working hard from whatever position they hold (Parish, 2018). I would say that this is one of the reason why African Americans have been associated with tremendous success. The economy of the United States is so much dependent on their contributions which is very commendable.
The legacy that their predecessors left is what gives them the strength to move on. Thanks to the African American legends. Another historical significance is the policy implementation that have been manipulated for the sake of the African American lot. Initially, life was too way difficult for African Americans. It was when Obama got into power and tried to strike an equity of race although the fight was fast and tough. At least today the African Americans have the pride of non-eviction rumors that have been controversy over and over in the American country policy systems. This political plight also gave the African Americans the way through to political position as any other American citizen. That is why American is overwhelmed with many responsibilities bestowed to African Americans.
Barrack Obama, an African American with a Kenyan ancestry has been very influential to the history of America. Besides being the 44th president, ticketed by the Democratic Party, he has contributed much to shape the lives of Americans. In his first term, he addressed global financial crisis. He reformed the U.S. health care plans among his mild reforms in the economy. During this reign, he also made a significant justice to the Hispanic Americans minority group by appointing Justices Sonia Sotomayor & Elena Kagan to the Supreme Court (Mendell, 2017). Importantly, his administration is celebrated for having orchestrated a military operation that saw Osama Bin Laden’s death in 2011. Obama was a great threat to the Americans leading a terrorist group known as the al-Qaida. In his second term, he tried to combat climate change by entering into a global climate initiative and subjective order to minimize carbon emissions. He also saw through the implementation of the Affordable Care Act and established negotiable talks with Iran and Cuba, big U.S. enemies.
She lived between 1913 and 2005. Rosa was an Alabama civil rights activist having married Raymond Parks (an activist). It was in 1943 when she joined the Montgomery of the Alabama chapter in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, NAACP. She engaged herself in many events as a champion for civil rights (Jone, 2018). In December, 1, 1955, she was arraigned in court after she refused to yield her bus seat to a white rider, something that spread her fame. As a result of that one incident, the 381-day Montgomery Bus Boycott came about and broke the public transit of the city. In 1957, she and her family moved to Detroit where she continued her activism until she passed away.
If you have ever owned an original IBM computer, then you probably owe Mark some credit for his incredible work. Born in 1957, Mark developed his engineer career and was later contracted by IBM. The ISA bus invention team was led by Mark. This hardware complexion made it easier for printers, USB flash disks, modems, mouse and even keyboard plugins into a computer. This made the use of personal computers in offices and businesses much flexible and easier. He also developed the first color computer monitor in 1999. This was a great invention that has made him be celebrated as an innovator through history (Kirstin, 2018).
The reason I chose these three icons is that their influence is experienced to date. Obama is just the former U.S. president and his policies are experienced in the economy up to date. As a matter of fact, the U.S. economy is much leveraging on his policy strategies and not Trump’s. This means that he is so important to the Americans.
Inequality is still a major challenge that the modern U.S. is facing. There is severe racial discrimination against the minority groups, among them the African Americans. Civil rights activism is not so much taken up. Being a woman and an activist at the same time takes a lot and that is why I chose Rosa Parks, as an outstanding icon.
Technology is taking a big shape of society, not just in the U.S. but the world over. This is the reason I chose Mark E. Dean for his varsity in innovativeness. He owes the world and the U.S. particularly a big “thank you” for leading the way to technological advancements.
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