Reading 4U: Contributions - Past And Present


The chief influence of the American Negro culture-nationally and internationally-has been in the field of music. The familiar Negro spirituals, the unusual rythms and harmonies of jazz, the haunting blues melodies -all these originated with the Negro slaves. It is often said that what is best and most original in American popular music comes from the Negro idiom.

  Many blacks have become famous entertainers of athletes. Eddie Murphy and Bill Cosby are just two of several famous black comedians. Two superstars-singer Michael Jackson and basketball player Michael Jordan-have become national idols of the young. In intellectual fields as well, blacks have made great contributions. Many are highly respected professional people-teachers, doctors, lawyers, judges, and ministers. One of the most interesting of black American scholars was George Washington Carver, the famous botanist. Carver began his life as a slave. Later, he revolutionized the agriculture of the South. Carver also developed more than 300 products from the peanut (including soap and ink) and 118 products from the sweet potato (including flour, shoe polish, and candy). Among the many oustanding black American authors of the past and present are poets Gwendolyn Brooks and Maya Angelou and novelists James Baldwin, Ralph Ellison, Richard Wright, Toni Morrison, and Alice Walker. Thurgood Marshall has been serving on the Supreme Court in 1967.
  Given an equal opportunity to learn and work, black American will contribute even more to this country. In order to make full use of its human resources, the United States must make sure that its customs and institutions extend equal privileges to all Americans.