Digital Commonwealth

African American identity

Item Information

Title:
African American identity
Description:
Marcus Jones reports that some African American leaders, including Jesse Jackson, are promoting the use of the term "African American" instead of the term "black." Comedian Charles Cozart on the Arsenio Hall Show. Interview with Northeastern lecturer Robert Hayden, who promotes the use of the term. Hayden says that it is an accurate term that reflects the roots and history of African Americans. Interview with Elma Lewis, the Director of the National Center of Afro-American Artists, who believes that the term "black" is more inclusive. Lewis says that not all black people in the US are Americans. Interviews with students and teachers at the Ellis School in Roxbury about which term they prefer. Following the edited story is additional footage of Jones speaking to students and teachers at the Ellis School. Jones answers questions about his report on Jackie Robinson and the race relations of the time. This edition of the Ten O'Clock News also included the following item: Meg Vaillancourt reports that the Boston School Committee is deeply divided over whether to renew the contract of Laval Wilson 1:00:11: V: Footage from the Arsenio Hall Show. Charles Cozart (comedian) tells jokes in front of the audience. Marcus Jones reports that the African American community is debating the use of the term "black." Jones notes that Jesse Jackson (African American political leader) is urging the use of the term "African American" instead of "black." V: Shots of Jackson addressing an audience. Shots of African Americans in the audience. Footage of Robert Hayden (Lecturer, Northeastern University) saying that many people of color have been calling themselves "African Americans" for years. Hayden says that many universities have departments of African American studies. Hayden says that people of African descent were living in Boston in the eighteenth century; that those people referred to their community as "African." Hayden says that the term is "accurate" and "useful." Footage of Elma Lewis (Director, National Center of Afro-American Artists) being interviewed by Jones. Lewis says that she does not have to follow the trend. Jones notes that Lewis is opposed to using the term "African American." V: Footage of Lewis saying that Africa is a whole continent. Lewis says that the terms "Nigerian American" or "Jamaican American" are more appropriate than "African American." Lewis says that the term "black American" is more inclusive. Footage of Jones addressing a class at the David A. Ellis School in Roxbury. Jones asks how many of the students are aware of the debate surrounding the term "African American." A few students raise their hands. Jones says that he asked students and teachers at the Ellis School in Roxbury about the terms "African American" and "black." V: Shots of students. Footage of an African American female student saying that it does not matter which term is used. Footage of a Latina teacher saying that there should be no mention of race in identification terms. Footage of an African American teacher asking if the term would be extended to "Afro-English" for blacks living in England. Footage of an African American male student saying that he likes the term "brown." Footage of a female student saying that it doesn't matter. Footage of Hayden saying that the term might inspire some to think about their African roots. Hayden says that some people might begin to look into their family histories. Footage of Lewis saying that it is important to teach children to be proud of their African roots. Lewis says that not all black people in the US are American; that all black people in the US are black. Shots of African Americans walking on a street; of a group of students walking away from a school.
Date:
February 15, 1989
Format:
Film/Video
Genre:
News
Location:
WGBH
Collection (local):
Ten O'Clock News
Subjects:
African Americans--Race identity
African American politicians
School children
Teachers
Classrooms
Race relations
Places:
MassachusettsSuffolk (county)Boston
Roxbury (Boston, Mass.)
Link to Item:
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Publisher:
Ten O'Clock News