Life of Black Migrants in the US

To begin with, the bulk of black migrants in the United States have African ancestors. In general, Black migrants do not form a distinct homogeneous group. In this way, they represent various African linguistic, national, cultural, social, and ethnic groupings. Significant immigration occurred in the United States and other American countries throughout the colonial period, particularly between the late 18th and early 19th centuries. In this context, factors that led to African immigration to America has been discussed in detail with a keen eye at slavery and how these factors later affected their lives in America. The choice on the black migrant group falls because they turned out unique among groups of immigrants and are significant in the American life. Ideally, most African migrants arrived in America against their will just like other immigrants through vicious systems of human exploitation. One of the fastest growing segments of human settlement in the US is the proportion of black immigrants whose population increased by approximately 200% in the late 19th century and by about 100% in the early 20th century. Markedly, the migration of Blacks to the US was greatly influenced by slavery, job opportunities and exploration of talents.


Ideally, one of the greatest factors that contributed to immigration of Africans to America was slave trade (Kretsedemas 2015, 135). As stated in the introduction, slavery of African men to America mainly took place between the 17th and the 19th century. African men were unwillingly shipped to the US in order to work on agricultural plantations. Markedly, there was a large proportion of African slaves in South America and the Caribbean while a small portion was shipped to the North. According to Kretsedemas (2015, 138), slave trade of Africans occurred along or within a triangle that started and ended in Europe, hence the name Trans-Atlantic trade. Europeans supplied goods to Africa, which they traded in exchange for the African men. On the same note, an exchange took place between the African slaves and the agricultural goods they produced. Notably, exportation of the agricultural goods to the European countries was the next course of action among the traders. This triangular trade, which almost lasted for over 360 years, resulted in the shipment of over 12 million blacks to America. Up to date, the life of Black Americans in the US has been greatly associated with the advent of the journey into slavery. On their way to America, Africans forcefully travel under despicable conditions, naked and lying on filth. Accordingly, Santo Domingo was the first travel destination for most African slaves that were on their way to America. Later, they traveled through San Miguel de Gualdape colony, which currently represents the state of South Carolina prominently discovered by a renowned Spanish explorer called Lucas Vazquez de Ayllon. Concisely, infighting disrupted the activities of the colony, which saw several slaves revolting and fleeing to seek asylum from local citizens. After de Ayllon’s demise, the colony completely experienced desertion with a large number of slaves fleeing to Haiti that currently holds the largest number of African migrants.

The Life of Black Americans

Notably, despite the formation of the USA, African-Americans continued to be enslaved. Whites were superior and blacks categorized as inferior and as second-class citizens. The USA’s citizenship was restricted to only whites, (Baum 2016, 44). Africans had limited opportunity of exercising the freedom of voting or holding elective posts. Additionally, other factors contribute to population of the African-American citizens and these include religious pilgrimages, economic and business factors as well as education. These population’s descendants have made Black Americans, the third largest ethnic population in America, a very significant group. Ideally, racial prejudice of the African Americans has painted a negative image of America in the past. As Baum (2016, 49) notes, the introductory part of their life is the despicable sufferings they underwent during their times of slavery and the worse part of their suffering was during specific times when Africans tried to escape in an effort to be set free from slavery. Markedly, disparity in distribution of resources, education and social amenities are some of the racism claims that Black migrants had to face in the U.S. However, the uprising of the African Americans, and participation in the great conflicts of the United States as well as the abandonment of racism and civil rights movement sought more political and social freedom for the African-Americans thereby bringing a positive change to tough restrictions that undermined this group (Bekers et al. 2009, 111). In spite of all these goodies however, blacks have continued the struggle due to rekindling flames of racism. To that end, the perseverance and patience of the African American had a positive influence on their life thereby contributed to their success and even shaping the political landscape of America. The Obama presidency is a perfect epitome of their success with regard to the political history of the U.S.

The discussion of the life of black community has an endless story. A study conducted by CNN and Washington Post uncovered special series about the Blacks during the time period studied. CNN aired Black in America on 2 July 2009, a sequel to its 2008 summer program that also examined the experience of African Americans and looked at difficult issues facing the community. The Gates arrest, as it turned out, came shortly before the series launched and redirected some of the on-air discussion and interview segments. The Washington Post series drew attention to some of the more disappointing data in African American life today (Capps et al. 2012, 33). The series named Wasting Away revealed how the D.C.’s AIDS dollars were misspent in Washington, DC’s neighborhoods which were dominated by mainly African Americans. The series further provided interactive online breakdowns of how the funds were misused. African Americans suffer the wrath of any epidemic more than other groups in America. As Capps et al. (2012, 37) observes in the first article of the series, published on 18 October, 2009, over 15,000 people have HIV or AIDS in the District, 3 percent of the population older than 12. For black men, the rate is more than double, at 6.5% for every 15 black people. Moreover, other stories continue to portray the struggles of this group and give a vivid discussion on how they continue to suffer as African Americans in the US (Doyal 2009, 29).

Apparently, historical data shows disparity in funding black’s college and university studies with respect to the whites (Lucht 2012, 110). Unemployment between blacks and whites shows a big difference and consequently, disparity in terms of the poverty levels between the two. The assignation of black children in the U.S, especially Canada and other stories related to racism similarly adds scores to this endless tale of Africans. Another case on racial discrimination of Africans by the Whites revolves around poverty and unemployment rates and an incident that led to the death of two African children. Similarly, television network coverage did not extend to the black’s regions or their lives or activities. However, the fight for justice for the African American community orchestrated by the likes of Crispus Attucks, who was the first Martyr of the American Revolution, has borne commendable fruits. The tireless struggles that saw Barack Obama to the top office promised a more optimistic life for this sect of community as the Obama administration saw several changes in favor of blacks in relation to previous administrations. The New York Times made this critical examination in May 2009. Several interviews lately conducted on over seven states shows positive responses from African men and women.

Accordingly, Africans Americans expressed their increased optimism towards race relations as opposed to years before Barack Obama emerged to contest as a democrat nominee to the White House race (Rosen 2009, 150). According to New York Times, most of Africans said they were feeling better. This showed a rejuvenated openness towards other races and it portrayed the US as a more united nation. Big newsrooms like CNN and NBC News were both airing special shows in honor of Jackie Robinson after breaking a barrier race on baseball 62 years before. Additionally, other positive contributors to the life of Blacks included election of the first African American mayor in a city and the first African American princess of Disney (Rosen 2009, 154). This had a renowned history of racial violence in the city of Philadelphia. NBC also aired a story of the city of Miami, the crime riddled community that worked a change to become a more peaceful town NBC also covered entrepreneurs trying to clean up a crime-ridden area of Newark, N.J to build affordable homes.

In addition, several news outlets covered the swearing in of the first black mayor of the city of Miami. According to Triulzi and Robert (2013, 118), CBS Evening News singled aired black achievements. For instance, in an a story in April 9, 2009 they aired a story concerning a group of students from Howard University who went to Chicago on an alternative spring break trip on a mission to preach peace to Chicago’s Youth and help them realize the importance of dialogue over violence. CBS also aired two stories in October 2009 about an African American youth making a difference. One story focused on a sixth grader’s crusade to stop the use of the n-word in the African American community and the other was about a young African American entrepreneur who sold t-shirts with positive messages. Furthermore, more stories about racial tension in Los Angeles featured where Mexicans, Somalis and Sudanese originals worked together in a meat packing plant and the story covered the struggles of both Americans and Africans. These positive changes a more revolutionized America that today stands for justice for all, no matter the race. On the positive side that promoted the image of the Black community were great sports men, the likes of Jack Johnsons, a very famous and the first African-American world boxing champion and Jesse Owens who shook the racial stereotypes in the USA at the 1936 Berlin Olympics (Triulzi and Robert 2013, 126).

Moreover, despite all these goodies, racial prejudice has not disappeared completely from America even in the current 21st century. Despite showing some of the greatest achievements like Mr. Obama becoming the first Black President of the USA, African Americans continues to struggle with issues relating to disparity in every aspect of their lives. In comparison to other ‘superior groups’, the life of black migrants to the U.S has been summarized below and this is in relation to an excerpt adapted from, African stats: African Americans by the Numbers in the 21st century. Notably, 40% of Africans in the entire America are studying in low grade schools both in secondary and in the elementary levels (Triulzi and Robert 2013, 135). In contrast, only 30% of Latino students go to schools in low-grade institutions. On the other hand, 32% of migrant white children are educated low grade schools as opposed to 16% of Pacific Islanders schools found in such schools. Triulzi and Robert (2013, 146) further observes that only 5% of native white children are educated in low grade schools and these numbers continue to lessen in that order. Black constitute about 15% in proportion in most public institution and 10% in private institutions among K–12 grades. On the same note, Africans students constitute the highest number of school suspensions at 35% of the total number that experiences suspensions in school constituting 45% and 40% Africans experiencing suspension in schools an annual basis. The rate of unemployment for school dropouts among African Americans remains high at 48% as opposed to 27% for the Native American school dropouts.

African immigrants to America are at a high risk to environmental pollutions than other groups in this country (Treiber 2011, n.p). A large number of Africans live within 35 miles of a coal power plant in comparison to White population in such high-risk areas. Black Americans are more prone to asthma than the Whites, meaning they are more prone to air pollution as well. Calamities like tornados and hurricanes claim more lives of Black Americans than Native Americans do. For instance, the Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans has claimed more lives of African Americans as opposed to White Americans. In artistry, there is less attention according to the works given to Black Americans by factor 2 to 1 as opposed to the proportion of White Americans in United States (Treiber 2011, n.p). By comparison, from 1929, African actors have so far acquired about 5% of Oscar Awards. In sports, the 2010/11 NFL season, Black players received the highest number of penalties for misconducts at 92% (Rosen 2009, 161). In terms of health, Blacks’ mortality rate is very high within the first 28 days of the infant’s life compared to that of the whites. African Americans reports a number considered double that of the White Americans of cases of serious psychological distress. The situation is worse for the populations leaving below the poverty line. There is a concern with the location of USA’s worst food-scarce regions. The cities with highest food scarcity are those which are highest populated by African Americans. They include Detroit at 83%, Memphis at 63%, New Orleans at 54%, and this continue to lessen as one moves to white-dominated cities (Rosen 2009, 165).

On the same note, the law enforcement systems in U.S do not practice fair justice and legal rights thus about 14% of African migrants have confidence in local police (Rosen 2009, 169). Juvenile arrests for Blacks remain high at 38 percent though they constitute only 16 percent of persons below the age of 18years. Black Americans are more prone to crimes like robberies compared to their White counterparts. Wages for Blacks grow at 21 percent slower than that of Whites. The Blacks accounts for the highest percentage of those arrested for drug abuse. Blacks account for only 8 percent of state legislators in the US since 1992. Elderly voters from Black origin have the highest percentage of those that lacks, under new photo-ID laws introduced in 40 states before 2012 election, relevant identifications. According to Rosen (2009, 173), the rate of unemployment for African Americans having a four-year college degree in possession is 10% compared to 4.9% percent for the same case among their white graduates. Blacks constitute the highest percentage of homeless families in US.


The life of African migrants in the U.S is indeed an endless story. It is a long-journeyed life characterized by goodies at some point and perseverance at other points. From their lives as slaves in America, Africans have constantly been viewed as ‘slaves’ to date through the infamous practice of racism. The racism foundation set by colonialists and early European settlers have continued to deny Africans most of their fundamental rights from justice to financial rights (Ojeda 2004, 122). However, their tireless fight for freedom orchestrated by great men like Crispus Attucks and Martin Luther King has seen several revolutions and changes. It has also helped in raising great American people and leaders from the community former US President Barack Obama, Jack Johnson and Jesse Owens, among many more who have continued the fight against discrimination as well as raising the image of the community in the global map.


Baum, Steven K. Anti-Semitism in North America: New World, Old Hate. London: Routledge, 2016.

Bekers, Elisabeth, Sissy Helff, and Daniela Merolla. Transcultural Modernities: Narrating Africa in Europe. Amsterdam: Rodopi, 2009.

Capps, Randy, Kristen McCabe, and Michael Fix. "Diverse Streams: African Migration to the Europe." Last modified April 10, 2012.

Doyal, Lesley. "Challenges in researching life with HIV/AIDS: an intersectional analysis of black African migrants in London." Culture, Health & Sexuality 11, no. 2 (2009), 173-188. Doi: 10.1080/13691050802560336.

Kretsedemas, Philip. Migrants and Race in the US: Territorial Racism and the Alien/Outside. Amsterdam: Brill, 2015.

Lucht, Hans. Darkness Before Daybreak: African Migrants Living on the Margins in Southern Italy Today. Berkeley: University of California Press, 2012.

Ojeda, Auriana. Slavery Today. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 2004.

Rosen, Hannah. Terror in the Heart of Freedom: Citizenship, Sexual Violence, and the Meaning of Race in the Post emancipation South. Chapel Hill: Univ. of North Carolina Press, 2009.

Treiber, Magnus. "Lessons for Life: Two Migratory Portraits from Europe." Long Journeys. African Migrants on the Road 5, no. 3 (n.d.), 187-211. Doi: 10.1163/9789004250390_011.

Triulzi, Alessandro, and Robert Lawrence McKenzie. Long Journeys: African Migrants on the Road. Leiden: Brill, 2013.

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