The Extended Family – Identification with the extended family (as opposed to the nuclear), the great importance of children to the sense of a community’s continuity over time, and the special roles played by men and women in family life are African features that have persisted in African American social life.
Groups and Associations – At the time of initiation, African boys and girls form close bonds with their age-mates that continue, in the form of a society, throughout their lives. Age or initiation mates treat each other as brothers and sisters, granting reciprocal rights and obligations.
Importance of Oral Eloquence – The African American Church, where permitted to develop independently, incorporated other social norms and roles of African society. Leadership by elders and/or individuals who were gifted speakers. Since the New World experience rarely permitted free and open public expression to black people, especially to men, these highly valued skills were developed in the single largest institution that the blacks had to themselves, the churches.
Oral Literature – trickster, animal, and preacher subjects; moralistic purpose; and exaggeration, double meaning, hidden messages, rhythm and verse.
Written Literature – Many of the themes and stylistic devices of African American folk literature mentioned above have been used by black American writers in their short stories, poetry, and novels.
Language – The speech of black Americans, long thought to be merely bad English, has been shown in recent years to be the result of an English vocabulary superimposed on grammatical and syntactical patterns common to related African languages.
Beliefs – Worship and venerate numerous African deities, particularly those of the Yoruba. Often, their names have been joined with those of the Christian saints whose personalities were perceived to be similar.
Music – pre-dominant role of rhythm in African and African American music. It is varied and multiple in composition, often emphasizing the unexpected by the coincidence of otherwise differing rhythms on a normally unaccented beat.
Dance – Preferences for group dancing in lines or in circles, with movement running counterclockwise in the latter, are typical in African dance throughout the continent.
Interrelation of Arts – Participation in celebration serves to unite the community, to restore balance, and to reaffirm values.
2. Blend of African/Western Elements
Africa has influenced the humanities in Europe and America as theme or symbol. Black people appear in Western literature and art as evil, mysterious, savage, passionate, or inherently noble.