You often hear African Americans complaining about the 4th of July as not being a day worthy of celebration. There are moments in history that changed the fabric of this country.
From the very inception of this country Blacks have been here. One fifth of the total population of Colonial America were enslaved 500,000 black men, women and children. Native Americans were not counted in the population. By 1770, there may have been 40,000 or more free African Americans in the Thirteen Colonies.
Prior to the revolution, many free African Americans supported the anti-British cause, most famously Crispus Attucks,(seen on the right) believed to be the first person killed at the Boston Massacre.
The Continental Army and the Navy recruited both free and enslaved blacks from the very start of the Revolutionary War, because many blacks were already experienced sailors, having served in British and state navies, as well as on merchant vessels in the North and the South.
In April 1775 at Lexington and Concord, African Americans again responded to the call and fought with Patriot forces. The Battle of Bunker Hill also had African American soldiers, fighting along side white Patriots. By the winter of 1777-1778, the Continental Army had dwindled to 18,000 from disease and desertion. During the course of the war, about one fifth of the northern army was African American. At the Siege of Yorktown in 1781, Baron Closen, a German officer in the French Royal Deux-Ponts Regiment, estimated the American army to be about one quarter black.
More blacks were elected to public office during the period from 1865 to 1880 than at any other time in American history. Although no state elected a black governor during Reconstruction, a number of state legislatures were effectively under the control of a strong African American caucus. Pinckney Benton Stewart Pinchback (May 10, 1837 – December 21, 1921) was the first non-white and first person of African American descent to become governor of a U.S. state. A Republican, he served as the 24th Governor of Louisiana for 35 days, from December 9, 1872, to January 13, 1873. Earlier in 1871 he became acting lieutenant governor upon the death of Oscar Dunn, the first elected African-American lieutenant governor of a U.S. state.
Civil Rights Act of 1964
The Civil Rights Act of 1964 is landmark legislation in the United States that outlawed unequal application of voter registration requirements and racial segregation in schools, at the workplace and by facilities that served the general public (“public accommodations”).
Congress asserted its authority to legislate under several different parts of the United States Constitution, principally its power to regulate interstate commerce under Article One (section 8.), its duty to guarantee all citizens equal protection of the laws under the Fourteenth Amendment and its duty to protect voting rights under the Fifteenth Amendment.
Civil Rights Act of 1968
On April 11, 1968 President Lyndon B. Johnson signed the Civil Rights Act of 1968 (commonly known as the Fair Housing Act, or as CRA ’68), which was meant as a follow-up to the Civil Rights Act of 1964. While the Civil Rights Act of 1866 prohibited discrimination in housing, there were no federal enforcement provisions. The 1968 act expanded on previous acts and prohibited discrimination concerning the sale, rental, and financing of housing based on race, religion, national origin, and as of 1974, gender; as of 1988, the act protects the disabled and families with children. It also provided protection for civil rights workers.
Barack Hussein Obama II the 44th and current President of the United States is the first African American to hold the office.
Barack Obama Electoral Votes 365 (66,882,230 votes 53%)
African American 95%
Latino (of any race or ethnic group) 67%
White Men 41%
White Women 46%
Black Men 95%
Black Women 96%
Latino Men (of any race or ethnic group) 64%
Latino Women (of any race or ethnic group) 68%
Happy 4th of July!