African-Americans in the Global Age

image of ladder
Photo caption

"Ladder for Booker T. Washington," by Martin Puryear, displayed at the Modern Art Museum of Fort Worth

Creative Commons

(February 28, 2014)

The 21st Century has so far featured the election of the first African-American as president, global recognition and popularity of African-American culture and arts, and appreciation for the efforts of those across history who advanced justice.

The gains established by the Civil Rights Movement have continued to bear fruit in the modern era, with historic results; 43 years after the Voting Rights Act of 1965 became law, Senator Barack Obama was elected president, becoming the first African-American elected to the highest executive office of the nation – a success that would have been unattainable had it not been for centuries of hard-fought efforts of citizens fighting for equality of opportunity across racial lines. The 21st century has also featured a truly global appreciation for African-American cultural and artistic endeavors, with rhythm and blues, jazz, hip-hop, and soul music gaining fans and audiences worldwide, artists such as Martin Puryear being recognized by critics and his works displayed in elite museums, and filmmakers like Lee Daniels earning domestic and international box office success with stories exploring the black experience in America. As communities across the planet become more connected through technology and trade, African-Americans are at the forefront of American cultural output and have the ability to tell their stories in direct and innovative ways. Explore contemporary successes and the twists and turns of  modern-day struggles to achieve long-sought dreams at EDSITEment, NEH’s educational website.