African America Culture and Tradition





African America Culture and Tradition

During the colonial period, slave traders transported large numbers of Africans to the United States. These slaves of African descent not only offered cheap labor to the whites, but also transformed the inhabitants’ way of life. The current lifestyle is proof of this influence. Various aspects such as food, music, art, religion, clothing, and language have changed, owing to the African background introduced to America by the slaves. To start with, most of the popular cuisines in the United States contain a fraction of cooking styles and products that originated from Africa.

For example, Africans have always served their dishes with portions of vegetables. In the colonial era, slaves served their masters these vegetables. Consequently, the natives adopted these meals also known as soul foods. Americans believe that these foods are easy to prepare, energetic, and rich in taste. Presently, the United States enjoy a wide range of soul foods including sweet potatoes, yams, fried chicken, and cornbread. Although Americans have since modified the meals, the main ingredients are similar to those brought to America by African servants in the ancient period.

Language is also an aspect influenced by African slaves. Some of the words used by modern Americans originate from various regions of the African continent. For example, jazz is a word used by Americans to refer to a certain type of music. In the colonial era, masters preferred owning servants with different dialects. This ensured that the slaves only communicated in English, keeping their supervisors updated on all their conversations. This led to the generation of new languages that differed from the standard American English. Over time, Americans have transformed this into an acceptable language referred to as slang.

The African American culture also comprises of various characteristics of African religious expressions. These influences are mainly apparent in Christianity, a religion well established among the ancient Africans. The African culture and religion considered dance and music as crucial components of their spiritual activities. These enthusiastic psalms and catchphrases are common in black churches, in the United States. These denominations believe in emotional chants with the congregation responding to the preacher’s summon with energetic phrases.

Presence of spirits is also an African religious aspect present in African American customs. Africans of the prehistoric period believed that spirits of their ancestors lived amongst them. According to them, energetic music and emotional chants appeased them and resulted in several forms of blessings. This is somewhat similar to the early African American tradition. In black churches, the congregation sings and dances wholeheartedly as a way of strengthening their relationship with God. They believe that doing so will capture His attention, bringing good things to them.

In addition, African musical traditions concur with African American melodious practices in several manners. In the olden days, Africans accompanied musical sessions with instruments. These melody-making equipments included drums, sticks and flutes. However, American slave owners banned these instruments with the main purpose of discouraging coded communication among the servants. To counteract this prohibition, the slaves invented a form of body thumping referred to as Hambone. This melodious thrashing involved rhythmically hitting one’s upper body and thighs.

Slaves of African ancestry also based their music on vocals. This is because the continent considered singing as a way of communication. They also used their vocals to conciliate with their ancestors. To them, music was a feature that complemented their lives. The slaves recognized the importance of vocals and used them to ease soreness from their tasks, in addition to sending coded messages to their colleagues. These traditions influenced the musical practices of African Americans. Musical genres such as jazz and hip-hop originate from African traditions. For example, jazz has a unique combination of melody and rhythm. It is popular among black Americans and comprises of professional playing of instruments such as keyboards and horns.

Some forms of harmony and folktales provide an insight into the experience of servants of the African lineage. For example, they played such musical instruments as drums and horns in an emotional manner. They made use of these percussions as a technique of expressing their sentiments. They played drums vigorously as a way of signifying repugnance towards their masters. Additionally, they resonated enthusiastically, symbolizing their quest for freedom. African folktales also provide an overview of the predicaments of African slaves in America.

To start with, most storytellers from Africa used the rabbit as their main character. They presented it as an intelligent creature who always tricked large animals. Conversely, the fox and bear were greedy and ferocious. The audience could relate to such folktales since they coincided with their environment. Similar to the rabbit, the slaves were helpless but clever, and lived among white masters who they compared to bears and foxes. In conclusion, slavery has had a major influence on the American culture. Some features of the current kinds of music, food, and clothing are similar to those in African traditions.

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