What is culture?


Manning Marable states “culture is the textured pattern of collective memory, the critical consciousness and aspirations of a people”


What is identity?


How are they related?


Why are we studying African American culture and identity separate from “American culture”?


How is the experience of African Americans similar and different from experiences of immigrants?








Differences between African American culture/identity and experiences of immigrants?


Africans in America

American Immigrants

1. Captured and Brought to

    America as prisoners

1. Choose to Immigrate

2.  Experienced economic

     exploitation (slavery, post-

     slavery period, color prevented

     equal access to economic


2.  Experienced economic

     exploitation.  Used group

     solidarity to strengthen

     economic position in society

3.  Denied civil rights (1965)

     although they received all civil

     rights by 1870

3.Used group solidarity for

     political advantage

4.Experienced social prejudice and

   legal barriers

Segregation- Plessy v Ferguson Supreme Court case legalized segregation in all walks of  life- culture work, education, religious, etc

4. Experienced prejudice once they

    reached the  US.  Did not

    experience legal barriers (some

    exceptions in Asian and Latino


5.Racism dominated-Concept

     that African Americans are


5. Prejudices  Example: Anti-

    Semitism, Muslim population

6. Subjected to internal terrorism

6. Subjected to maltreatment

7. No political power, no legal


7. Gradual Political power.

    Citizenship rights meant full

    civil/legal rights.

8. Development of culture based on

   African roots- culture rejected

   by larger society

8.  Development of culture based

     on European roots or based

     upon culture of their

     homeland/connection with


9. Culture developed separately

9.  Became assimilated

10. Identity w/homeland is

      abstract, ambiguous and for

      the most part rejected.

10. Strong identity with homeland

      and culture.  Strong identity

      with adopted culture




What is identity?

Who am I?

What determines identity?

How has the identity of African Americans been compromised?