Pan Africanism : African Immigrants Make Presence Known in U.S.

Discussion in 'Black History - Culture - Panafricanism' started by Aqil, May 4, 2005.

  1. Aqil

    Aqil Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    By Mwamoyo Hamza

    Since the end of World War II, there has been a steady stream of immigrants to the United States from Africa. But in the 1990s their numbers dramatically increased. Now, the presence of these relatively recent African immigrants is unmistakably visible in some American communities.

    When Barack Obama, a little-known state legislator from Illinois, was elected to the U.S. Senate last November, the national spotlight was focused on the new wave of African-American immigrants to the United States, as distinct from African-Americans who are descendents of slaves who were brought to the country generations ago. Senator Obama, son of a Kenyan father and an American mother, became the first first-generation African-American to become a U.S. Senator.

    According to the U.S. Census Bureau there are now close to one million African immigrants in the United States. The Census Bureau says more than 50% of them entered and settled in the country between 1990 and 2000. Khalid El-Hassan, the Program Director of the African Studies Center at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, says the number of African immigrants in the U.S. is growing by leaps and bounds. "Africans comprise now of more than 5% of the documented immigrants in the U.S. in 2000, which is really up from less than 2% in 1991.

    The U.S. Census Bureau estimates that in 1997 about 2.2% of the foreign-born population in the United States were born in African countries, which is more than twice the estimate a decade earlier. We also know that the number of documented immigrants from Africa arriving annually in the United States rose from under 15,000 in 1980 to over 40,000 by the end of the '90s."

    Dr. El-Hassan quotes immigration figures showing that more than 350,000 Africans legally entered the United States in the '90s. By comparison, nearly 30,000 came in the '60's, 80,000 in the '70s, and 176,000 in the '80s. However, many African activists believe the U.S. Census Bureau 2000 report under-reported the number of Africans by hundreds of thousands. Like many other immigrants, activists say, Africans who are in the country illegally are not willing to participate in the census exercise or even seek government help in other matters.

    Jill Wilson, a researcher with the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, says that once in the country most of the African immigrants are drawn into big cities. "Africans are scattered around the country, and the largest concentration are near large metropolitan areas - and especially in the northeastern region of the country," she said. "There are four states that have 40% of Africans, and these are New York, California, Texas and Maryland, 95% of them were living in metropolitan areas. And half of those live in just ten cities...the top five cities are New York, Washington, Los Angeles, Atlanta and Minneapolis." But Dr. El-Hassan says some African immigrants - particularly those who entered the country as refugees from such countries as Somalia and the Sudan in the '90s - have settled in such areas as the less densely-populated midwest.

    Experts say the growth of African immigration to the U.S. in the '90s resulted from internal strife, natural disasters, and economic hardships in some African countries. These calamities forced thousands of people to flee the continent. Many others came through family reunification programs and diversity visas, a lottery for people who come from countries with low rates of immigration to the United States.

    The impact of African immigrants in the U.S. can be seen in the increased number of African churches, mosques and a variety of African-themed businesses in big cities such as New York, Washington, Houston and Chicago. Rev. David Gitome is a Kenyan-born minister who for more than seven years has been heading the Umoja Church in the Washington suburb of Prince Georges County, MD. In recent years, his congregation has swelled to about 200 parishioners. On Sundays one of the masses is conducted in the Swahili language. He says the mushrooming of African churches in the U.S. mirrors the growth in numbers of African immigrants.

    "We have had about 21 churches around this community, metropolitan area and Baltimore, but we have so many churches of the African community in every state, like Washington and Texas; we have Boston and of course in Georgia we also have quite a number of churches. So there is growth. When people learned about this they have come now with their faith, and we feel that our coming here now and the growth of immigrants in the United States is taken care of by this community of churches," he said.

    While most Africans entered the country as students in the '60s and '70s, a significant number of Africans who arrived in the '90s were refugees and immigrants seeking better life. A recent article in the New York Times noted that there are currently more Africans who have arrived in the United States voluntarily than the total of those who were brought here as captives during the slave trade.

    http://www.voanews.com/english/2005-05-02-voa50.cfm?renderforprint=1
     
  2. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    In NYC the African & West Indian population outnumbers the African American population. Although there are some cultural differences & tension. In many cases these groups are interacting with one another, forming groups, datings, and intermarrying. PanAfricanism is occuring in ways that we don't even realize!
     
  3. African_Prince

    African_Prince Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Africans have been immigrating to the U.S since the end of WWII ( in significant numbers )? I was surprised that Yaphet Kotto ( half-Cameroonian, half Black Panamanian/WI ) was born in NY as early as 1937. I thought it started in the late 60s ( as university/college students ) and really hit off in the 80s

    "In NYC the African & West Indian population outnumbers the African American population. "

    I remember once reading that West Indians, in the 1920s, were 1 in every 5 Black New Yorkers or Harlemites. Are you sure foreign Blacks outnumber Black Americans in NYC?
     
  4. panafrica

    panafrica Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    Positive brother African_Prince, that is a fact.
     
  5. KWABENA

    KWABENA STAFF STAFF

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    Why are we separating our OWN ancestors from ouselves?

    CD
     
  6. Ralfa'il

    Ralfa'il Well-Known Member MEMBER

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    An AFrican

    Pan is right...

    You go to New York and start talking to a sista thinking she is a regular black woman then when her celly start ringing and she answers.....

    She'd liable to bust out speaking Jamaican patois, creole, or Spanish and leave you sitting in a daze trying to figure her out.

    You won't understand a thing she's saying but be like:

    "Dang...I thought homegirl was one of us!" :pie:


    I don't know about the Africans, but nearly every black people there hails from an island below the border or have parents that do.

    That's one thing I love about the city.
     
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