African-American history began in the 17th century, with Africans from West Africa being sold to European slave traders and transported across the Atlantic to the Thirteen Colonies. After arriving in the Americas, they were sold as slaves to European colonists and put to work on plantations, particularly in the southern colonies. A few were able to achieve freedom through manumission or escape and founded independent communities before and during the American Revolution. After the United States was founded in 1783, most black people continued to be enslaved, being mostly concentrated in the American South, with four million enslaved only liberated during and at the end of the Civil War in 1865. Due to white supremacy, most were treated as second-class citizens. The Naturalization Act of 1790 limited U. S. citizenship to whites only, and only white men who owned property could vote. These circumstances changed in Reconstruction, further development of the black community, participation in the great military conflicts of the United States, substantial migration out of the South, the elimination of legal racial segregation, and the civil rights movement which sought political and social freedom. In 2008, Barack Obama became the first African American to be elected President of the United States.
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