African Americans in California

African-American Californians or Black Californians are residents of the state of California who are of African ancestry. According to U.S. Census Bureau, those identified as African American or black constituted 5.9% or 2,265,387 residents in California in 2015.[1] California has also smaller communities of Caribbeans especially Jamaicans and African immigrants. Jamaicans, Haitians, Nigerians and West Indians are reported as African-American in California.[2] In Southern California, most black immigrants come from Ethiopia, Nigeria and Ghana.[3]


Racial/Ethnic Makeup of California treating Hispanics as a Separate Category (2017)[4]

  White Non-Hispanic (36.97%)
  Black Non-Hispanic (5.47%)
  Native American Non-Hispanic (0.37%)
  Asian Non-Hispanic (14.37%)
  Pacific Islander Non-Hispanic (0.35%)
  Other Non-Hispanic (0.27%)
  Two or more races Non-Hispanic (3.05%)
  Hispanic Any Race (39.15%)

People of African-descent first appeared in California from Mexico due to the Spanish Conquest.[5] The first census recorded of African Americans in California appeared in 1850 with 962 people and 1860 with 4,086 people.[6] Then, in 1910 the number rose to 22,000.[7] African Americans totaled to less than one percent of California's population before the Second World War.[7] The population of African Americans grew slowly with other minorities in California, with only 21,645 African American residents in 1910 compared to two million white residents.[8] Post-WWII, African Americans boosted their population enormously in California.[7] African Americans migrated to California from Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma and Texas to work in the defense industry.[9] In the 2010s, California was a net loser of black migration for the first time in three decades. Most exiting California blacks are returning to the south especially Texas and the Atlanta metropolitan area.[10] There are Black cities and Black neighborhoods in Southern California like in Compton, South Los Angeles and Inglewood, and in Northern California like Stockton, Antioch[11] and Vallejo.[12] African Americans in California are more likely to experience homelessness than white people.[13]


African American residents of California were first mentioned in 1919 by black Californian historian Delilah Beasley, and later on Rudolph Lapp, others.[7] More information appeared in journals such as The Journal of Negro history and The Journal of African American History. (3)[14] Other Californian publications about African Americans include the California Eagle, California Voice, and Los Angeles Sentinel.[7]

KJLH is black owned R&B radio station by Stevie Wonder.


After a petition sent by African Americans to the Los Angeles Board of Education in 1872, the California Supreme Court ruled Ward v. Floor current segregation in educational practices as unconstitutional, breaching U.S. Constitution's 14th and 15th amendments.[8] African American students in lower education increased from 24 in 1870 to 183 by the late 19th century, and ranked highest performing students in literacy subjects in 1900.[8] In 1994, California's African American students made up about seven percent of higher education, compared to nine percent in the country.[15]

See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "U.S. Census Bureau, 2011-2015 American Community Survey 5-Year Estimates." American FactFinder. U.S. Census Bureau.
  2. ^ [1]
  3. ^
  4. ^ "B03002 HISPANIC OR LATINO ORIGIN BY RACE - California - 2017 American Community Survey 1-Year Estimates". U.S. Census Bureau. July 1, 2017. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved October 11, 2018.
  5. ^ Taylor, Quintard (2000-01-01). "African American Men in the American West, 1528-1990". The Annals of the American Academy of Political and Social Science. 569: 102–119. JSTOR 1048813.
  6. ^ Bradford, Eric. "Free African American Population in the U.S. : 1790-1860." NCpedia Home Page | NCpedia. Ncpedia, 2008.
  7. ^ a b c d e Moore, Shirley Ann Wilson (1996-01-01). "African Americans in California: A Brief Historiography". California History. 75 (3): 194–197. doi:10.2307/25177592. JSTOR 25177592.
  8. ^ a b c Campbell, Marne L. (2012-01-01). "AFRICAN AMERICAN WOMEN, WEALTH ACCUMULATION, AND SOCIAL WELFARE ACTIVISM IN 19TH-CENTURY LOS ANGELES". The Journal of African American History. 97 (4): 376–400. doi:10.5323/jafriamerhist.97.4.0376. JSTOR 10.5323/jafriamerhist.97.4.0376.
  9. ^ "African Americans in Los Angeles - African American Studies - Oxford Bibliographies - obo". Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  10. ^
  11. ^ Payton, Allen (February 5, 2019). "Antioch Council hires first African American as City Attorney". The Antioch Herald. Retrieved 2020-03-19.
  12. ^ "These Are The 10 California Cities With The Largest Black Population For 2019". RoadSnacks. 2018-12-09. Retrieved 2019-05-13.
  13. ^
  14. ^ Franklin, V. P. (2006-01-01). "Introduction: The African American Experience in the Western States". The Journal of African American History. 91 (1): 1–3. JSTOR 20064043.
  15. ^ "Serious Erosion of African-American Enrollment in California Higher Education". The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education (3): 11–11. 1994-01-01. doi:10.2307/2963084. JSTOR 2963084.

External linksEdit