For more than a hundred years, Africans were transported across the Atlantic against their will as slaves to first the British and French colonies, and later the United States.
Hundreds of thousands of slaves made this journey. The African culture also arrived with the slaves — and with it the food, music and words used around the world today.


When the slaves were brought to the U.S., African cooking styles also came. Different foods were introduced. For example, in Africa, slaves ate a large amount of greens and vegetables and after being brought to America, slaves often served these foods to their masters. African-American food is also called “soul food” and can be found in restaurants and homes not only across America but internationally as well. Some soul foods include fried chicken, sweet potatoes, black-eyed peas and cornbread. Biologist George Washington Carver created 300 products from peanuts, 118 products from sweet potatoes and 75 from pecans. George Crum invented the potato chip in 1853.


African Americans have had a notable influence on American music. Genres including jazz, blues, hip-hop and gospel were all started by African Americans. Blues music influenced other genres including rock ‘n’ roll; many early blues songs were covered by rock ‘n’ roll artists. Music genres including rap and hip-hop were started in African-American communities.


African-American influence on clothing stems from musical culture. specifically hip-hop. Hip-hop is more than just a type of music. Clothing is associated with the genre. This clothing is often worn by people of all races that listen to the music. Examples of this clothing style include wearing baggy pants, jerseys of pro athletes and name-brand sneakers. Baseball caps are also popular.


African Americans influence many areas of American culture. Linguistically, many words are either rooted in African languages or borrowed from African languages. “Gumbo” and “okra” are both African words while “jazz” is rooted in an African language. Place names from African languages are also found throughout the country, particularly in the Southeast, like the Wando River in South Carolina. African-American churches borrow music and preaching styles from African tradition with rhythmic hymns and a participatory style of preaching, where participants answer the preacher out loud.


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