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African-American culture

African-American culture, also known as Black-American culture, refers to the cultural contributions of African Americans to the culture of the United States, either as part of or distinct from mainstream American culture. The distinct identity of African-American culture is rooted in the historical experience of the African-American people, including the Middle Passage. The culture is both distinct and enormously influential on American culture as a whole.

African-American culture is primarily rooted in West and Central Africa, and the majority of African-Americans have ancestry among the Yoruba people. Understanding its identity within the culture of the United States it is, in the anthropological sense, conscious of its origins as largely a blend of West and Central African cultures. Although slavery greatly restricted the ability of African-Americans to practice their original cultural traditions, many practices, values and beliefs survived, and over time have modified and/or blended with European cultures and other cultures such as that of Native Americans. African-American identity was established during the slavery period, producing a dynamic culture that has had and continues to have a profound impact on American culture as a whole, as well as that of the broader world.[1]

Elaborate rituals and ceremonies were a significant part of African Americans" ancestral culture. Many West African societies traditionally believed that spirits dwelled in their surrounding nature. From this disposition, they treated their environment with mindful care. They also generally believed that a spiritual life source existed after death, and that ancestors in this spiritual realm could then mediate between the supreme creator and the living. Honor and prayer was displayed to these "ancient ones," the spirit of those past. West Africans also believed in spiritual possession.[2]

In the beginning of the eighteenth century, Christianity began to spread across North Africa; this shift in religion began displacing traditional

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