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Kevin D. Roberts

The demographics of African Americans fluctuated greatly from the era of segregation to the beginning of the twenty-first century. Factors with a particular impact on African Americans—such as segregation and limited work opportunities in the South—as well as tumultuous events that affected all Americans—such as the two world wars—exerted significant force on the demographic structure of the African American population in the United States. Age, infant mortality rates, regional location, social stratification, income, and education were all affected by the wholesale changes of the period.


Ethnicity and race have been less troubling military questions for the United States than for nations where ethnic and racial competition, political power struggles, or caste systems have had a military dimension. Nonetheless, both factors have created military dilemmas for Americans from the earliest colonial settlements. Before the Revolutionary War, many white colonists, who considered blacks biologically and culturally inferior and poor material for soldiers, were also afraid of arming slaves and free blacks and of losing their labor services. Sometimes blacks were excluded from the colonial militias, particularly in the South, but military need could overshadow racial fear, such as during the French and Indian War. Some slaves were even granted their freedom for wartime military service.

Ethnocentrism suspicion of loyalties and loss of labor also militated against the military use of some non English immigrants but the need for frontier defense in the eighteenth century contributed to the ...


Beatriz Rivera-Barnes

Since the late 1980s the term “Latino” has been used to describe all people residing in the United States who are of Latin American, Central American, or Spanish-speaking Caribbean descent, regardless of country of origin, ethnic origin, or race. In the early twenty-first century this term was beginning to supplant the term “Hispanic,” which also has been used to describe this group. Latinos in the United States can therefore be white, mestizo, Mayan, Aztec, black, mulatto, Peruvian, Bolivian, Venezuelan, and so on.

There has been a misconception about using the terms “black” and “Latino” together. The journalist and lecturer Roberto Santiago writes that for many years he was told there was no way that he could be black and Puerto Rican at the same time and that such a statement still perplexes him As a black Latino he has been shaped by his black and Latino heritages and he ...