Loosely defined, African Americans are people whose ancestral heritage is tied to Africa as well as America. Despite the fact that African Americans have been suppressed in every possible way for many centuries, they have a rich culture and history. A lot of famous African Americans have made their mark in diverse fields such as music, sports, movies, theatre and world politics. Slavery was rife in the 18th and 19th centuries and black people were treated as nothing more than mere possessions.