The American history consists of the combination of experiences of the various people who have come from different lands and brought elements of their culture with them. Particularly, Africans have had an enormous impact especially in the history of the United States of America. The Africans were mostly moved to America through the slave trade which started in 1619. However, their plight is accompanied by diverse problems among them being the economic challenges.

1.1 Hypothesis

The economic status of the African Americans changed tremendously in the 20th century.

1.2 research question

1. How did the financial status of African Americans vary in the early 20th century?

1.3 Relevance

Even today, African Americans contribute almost 600 billion dollars to the United States of America economy per year (Marshall, 1965). They have been involved in so many innovations that affect the America economy such as; building clocks, writing an almanac, laying out Washington DC, also helped immensely in the wars. We have many African American successful actors and actresses, musicians and even the American president Barrack Obama are African Americans.

1.4 Overview

This document briefly touches on how the African Americans economic status improved in the 20th century which saw them change from being slaves and gradually minimized the gap between them and the white Americans.

The economic fortunes of the African Americans changed a lot in the 20th century. It saw them move tremendous concentration in southern agriculture to greater diversity in residence and occupation. There were large increases in African American incomes in both relative and absolute terms, schooling differences between the whites and the blacks fell sharply. The progress was accompanied by tremendous social upheavals especially during the period of world wars it was shaped by conflict between black and white workers and residential segregation.

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The African Americans made a remarkably small percentage of the California population before the World War 1 barely two percent. However they maintained their sense of community by being members of the African Methodist Episcopal church AME, W.E.B, N.A.A.C.P, urban league and the California association of colored women clubs. Other African Americans such as Booker T Washington started schooling although racial discrimination left them to low paying jobs such as shoe shine and chauffeuring, they gradually started moving from the low class to the middle class.

Some entrepreneurs found financial success through hard work and good fortune and some such as Mary Ellen started fighting for African American civil rights. They started changing their culture by playing basketball and doing music although most of them continued doing domestic work and manual labor. This changed in world war one when they found work in war related industries. At the end of the war, immigration from outside was curtailed cutting off the flow of new workers and thus gave an opportunity to the African Americans in the south moving to industrial centers in north. World war two brought more change which saw the blacks join the military, firefighters and shipping industries (Collins, 2001).

Due to actions on the side of the African American workers, migration, broad economic forces and specific antidiscrimination policy initiatives it still evident with a substantial gap existing between the African-American and whites in the form of wealth, life expectancy, of income and unemployment.

1.5 conclusion

The economic status of the African American people has changed immensely in the formative years. This has been facilitated by the drastic changes that have taken place in the state. The civil rights movements, changes in the perceptions of the black Americans alongside other substantial factors have aided in this process. 

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