Almost one third of adults in the United States have hypertension. Prevalence data among different racial or ethnic groups indicate that a disproportionate number of African Americans have hypertension compared with non-Hispanic whites and Mexican Americans. Earlier onset of high blood pressure and greater severity of hypertension contribute to a greater burden of hypertensive target organ damage in African Americans and may be a factor in the shorter life expectancy of this population compared with white Americans. There is a clear need for improved management of hypertension in African Americans via therapeutic lifestyle interventions and pharmacotherapy. While there is some evidence that particular antihypertensive agent classes provide blood pressure-lowering advantages over others, there is no support for withholding agents of any one class. When given as monotherapy, diuretics and calcium channel blockers may be relatively more effective in lowering blood pressure in African Americans than β blockers, angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitors, and angiotensin II receptor blockers. However, when combined with a diuretic, African Americans respond as well to these agents as other racial groups. Combination therapy using antihypertensive agents with differing modes of action provides additive antihypertensive efficacy and is well tolerated. Recent guidelines recommend combination therapy as the standard of care for patients with significant blood pressure elevation, especially those with diabetes mellitus and renal disease. These comorbidities are more common in African Americans and indicate the potential need for initial therapy with more than one agent or a combination of agents in one pill.