Hypertension treatment and control is of paramount importance in the prevention of premature cardiovascular disease. African Americans present a special challenge to the clinician due, in part, to their earlier age of onset,greater prevalence, and increased rates of untoward events. A review of the recent studies of genetic epidemiology has not revealed unique genotypes that explain human hypertension or the disparate impact suffered by African Americans. Moreover, a clear message has emerged that environmental factors predominate in their effect on cardiovascular risk and are mutable. These findings suggest that to have an immediate and substantial impact on the ethnic disparity of hypertension, resources and research should be directed toward social and behavioral factors. Prompt and aggressive control of blood pressure is an effective global strategy for cardiovascular risk reduction. In most cases, this approach requires multiple interventions including lifestyle modification and an antihypertensive regimen that is tailored to the individual under the current guidelines and not stipulated by race.