The story of African immigration is unique among immigrant groups, just as the African experience in America has been uniquely central to the course of American life.
Unlike other immigrants, most Africans came to North America against their will, caught up in a brutal system of human exploitation. The treatment they and their descendents endured in the United States was of a harshness seldom surpassed in recent history, and their role in U.S. society was contested with a ferocity that nearly tore the nation apart.
The centuries-long battle African Americans waged for freedom, for dignity, and for full participation in American society utterly transformed the nation, and shaped the world we live in today. Today, there is no aspect of life in the United States that has not been touched by the African American experience; there is no institution, custom, or daily practice that has not been influenced or remade by the efforts of African American thinkers, workers, artists, activists, and organizers.
Now, more than 35 million Americans claim African ancestry, and the number of African immigrants to the U.S. increases every year. The story of African immigration is a long one, but its newest chapters are still being written today.