Adjective, Noun

Cultural, ethnic, and racial identity representing individuals whose heritage is rooted in the African diaspora. Historically, the term has been used to categorize descendants of enslaved Black people through the Transatlantic Slave trade between the 17th and 19th century, as most African Americans are descendants of enslaved persons. However, this is no longer a comprehensive grouping of individuals, for instance some recent Black immigrants or their children may also come to identify as African-American or may identify differently.

African-American is an example of self-defining identities. 

Note: African-American is not always synonymous with Black, and some who identify as African-American do not identify as Black and vice-versa.

Terms not to use: Colored, Afro-American, Blacks, Negro


Adapted from multiple sources including the following: 

Negro, Black, Black African, African Caribbean, African American or what? Labelling African origin populations in the health arena in the 21st century | Journal of Epidemiology & Community Health (