African Americans are the third largest racial group in the United States, accounting for about 13% of the population. The vast majority of African Americans are of West African descent, and their ancestors were brought to the Americas as slaves. African Americans have played a significant role in American history and culture, and their contributions have been memorialized in many ways, including the creation of the National Museum of African American History and Culture.
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The first African Americans to arrive in what is now the United States were brought as slaves by the Spanish in the early 16th century. As the English began to settle North America in the 17th century, they also brought African slaves with them. By the time of the American Revolution, there were an estimated 500,000 slaves in the country.
African Americans fought on both sides of the Revolutionary War, but most were loyal to the British, hoping that a victory would mean freedom from slavery. When the British were defeated, however, the new American government did not abolish slavery, and African Americans continued to be bought and sold as property.
In the years leading up to the Civil War, African Americans fought for their freedom in a number of ways. Some escaped from slavery, others resisted through acts of defiance, and still others took up arms in revolts. During the Civil War, African Americans served in both the Union and Confederate armies, though most were with the Union.
After the war, African Americans continued to struggle for equality. The 13th Amendment, which abolished slavery, was passed in 1865, but it did not end discrimination against African Americans. In the late 19th century, African Americans began to organize to fight for their rights, and by the mid-20th century, they had made significant progress in achieving equality.
Today, African Americans are a vital part of the American economy, culture, and society, and they have made significant contributions in a wide variety of fields.