African American Culture Essay Research Paper African — страница 2

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they were not allowed to congregate together so they sang songs to convey messages to each other. The tradition of slave spirituals developed into gospel music, a religious song form which incorporated melodies and rhythms from popular music. African American dance is rooted in African and African American traditions. During slavery, slave-owners defined dancing as sinful because slaves crossed their feet to dance. Slaves adapted their dances to conform to European beliefs, creating a shuffling motion with the feet that would be less offensive to Europeans. However, New Orleans’ slaves were allowed to preserve their dance. African American dance has greatly influenced popular culture. The celebration of Juneteenth, the day that the emancipation was signed, is celebrated

annually by African Americans. Many African Americans do not see the Fourth of July as a day of celebration and not a part of their culture. Kwanzaa, derived from the harvest rituals of Africans, is observed each year from December 26 through January 1 by many African Americans. Participants in Kwanzaa celebrations affirm their African heritage by drinking from the Unity cup, lighting red, black, and green candles, exchanging heritage symbols, such as African art, and recounting the lives of people who struggled for African and African American freedom. People who celebrate Kwanzaa hope to strengthen the black community by adhering to the seven guiding principles, designated by the terms from the Swahili language: umoja (unity), kujichagulia (self-determination), umija

(collective work and responsibility), ujamaa (cooperative economics), nia (purpose), kuumba (creativity), and imani (faith). Although many African Americans share some culture similarities with those of the dominant culture, there are some aspects of their culture from the dominant ancestry of sub-Saharan West Africa in which they have retained. Culture is not a fixed phenomenon, nor is it the same in all places or to all people. It is relative to time, place, and particular people and African American culture plays a significant role in the United States today.