20 Introduction

Creating an African-American Culture

Module Introduction

People express cultural meaning through their language, food, sacred and secular rites, ceremonies, rituals, art, music, dance, personal adornment, celebrations and many other socio-cultural customs and practices. (3)

Despite slavery’s strictures, African Americans created their own unique culture and cultural identity, particularly through language and religion, during the eighteenth and nineteenth century.

This module explores how black people created an African American culture and identity, how they used language, literacy, religion, and music, such as spirituals, hymns, and hollers, to navigate and resist a dehumanizing slave system and strengthen the bonds of their communities. (1)

Learning Outcomes

This module addresses the following Course Learning Outcomes listed in the Syllabus for this course:

  • To provide students with a general understanding of the history of African Americans within the context of American History.
  • To motivate students to become interested and active in African American history by comparing current events with historical information.(1)

Additional learning outcomes associated with this module are:

  • The student will be able to discuss the origins, evolution, and spread of racial slavery.
  • The student will be able to describe the creation of a distinct African-American culture and how that culture became part of the broader American culture. (1)

Module Objectives

Upon completion of this module, the student will be able to:

  • Discuss the role of language and religion as they relate to the creation of a unique African American culture.
  • Analyze the roles of language and religion in shaping cultural identities in America today. (1)

Readings and Resources

Learning Unit: Creating an African-American Culture: Language, Religion, and Music (see below) (1)


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