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The Library of Congress > Teachers > Classroom Materials > Presentations and Activities > Immigration
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Immigration Introduction
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New Beginnings

Today, Africans are coming to America again.

From Senegal, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mali, Nigeria, Eritrea, Africans are making their way to American shores to start new lives, just as the first African adventurers and colonists did nearly 400 years ago. These new arrivals are coming in great numbers; more than 500,000 Africans came in the 1990s alone, more than had come in all the 150 years before. Many are affluent and are among the most educated immigrants in the United States today.

The new Africans are coming to a country that has seen dramatic changes in the past four centuries, and a nation that has been profoundly shaped by the long African experience in America. It is a country where people of African ancestry now hold positions of power, prestige, and influence, even as the nation continues to grapple with the aftermath of segregation and inequality. It is a country that has seen three of its most prominent African American citizens--the diplomat Ralph Bunche, the civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., and the novelist Toni Morrison--awarded the Nobel Prize.

It is also a country that has been influenced in recent decades by the arrival of immigrants from the Caribbean, the descendants of Africans who were taken to those islands during their own centuries of slavery. These immigrants and their children have also made their mark on U.S. life, including Shirley Chisholm, the first African American woman elected to Congress, and General Colin Powell, who has served as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff and as U.S. Secretary of State. Caribbean Americans such as Kool DJ Herc also were instrumental in the creation of hip-hop, which has continued African American music's ongoing conquest of the world.

Perhaps most important, it is a country that continues to be enriched by, to come to terms with, and to recognize its African heritage.



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