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.