What “American Dream Success” Meant for Africans

America Dream


In the definition of the American Dream by James Truslow Adams in 1931, “life should be better and richer and fuller for everyone, with opportunity for each according to ability or achievement” regardless of social class or circumstances of birth.

The American Dream is rooted in the Declaration of Independence, which proclaims that “all men are created equal” with the right to “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.”

During my research it was interesting to find that the American dream and its success has many different definitions. Many studies have found that African Americans equate American dream success with obtaining wealth. Although, other studies show that African-American feel that the American dream has nothing to do with money. It is about finding your walk of life – the purpose that makes you whole and complete. Taking the path of your own choice is their ultimate definition of the American dream.

Other African-American feel that the American dream is not meant for them and is most assuredly not going to be a part of their children’s future. They feel this is due to the continued inequalities in education, housing and job market opportunities. If these three factors do not change the American dream will be out of reach for not only themselves but their children and their children’s children. They feel the American dream is something they can only read about. Of course, this once again brings up the question of what is your definition of the American dream. If in this group the American dream means only wealth than their responses may very well be a reality.

Another study conducted in 2010 shows that African-American are less likely to top their parents’ income and wealth than the white population and African-Americans are more likely to be stuck at the bottom of the income ladder or fall out of the middle. This study couldn’t measure African-Americans mobility in the upper income levels because the number was too small.

No matter how many studies are done and how many opinions you find the American dream for African-Americans and all people comes down to how you define it. If wealth is the only factor, then African-Americans may be at a disadvantage, but as other African-Americans have expressed the American dream to them has to do with finding their true purpose in life that makes them whole and complete. In that sense they are truly rich.



Alaafia offers portal support to African Immigrants. Through this website, we want to show African Immigrants that they can achieve whatever goal in life they choose, unshackling them in the process.

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