Vitamin D deficiency has increasingly been recognized in the general population and especially in African Americans whose deep skin pigmentation makes vitamin D photosynthesis inefficient. Over the last decade there has been increasing interest in the role that vitamin D deficiency may play in BP modulation because many epidemiologic studies have shown an inverse association between serum vitamin D concentration and BP. There is a high prevalence of vitamin D deficiency in African Americans who also have an increased susceptibility to develop hypertension and its consequences. This paper will review the circumstances leading to vitamin D deficiency in the African American population and will also discuss how vitamin D deficiency can affect the renin-angiotensin system, free radical production, inflammatory processes, and carbohydrate tolerance that in turn influence vascular endothelial function and vascular structure producing increased vascular resistance. It will speculate that the presence of vitamin D deficiency throughout life from its earliest phases may adversely affect the microvasculature in African Americans, thereby playing a major role in the genesis and maintenance of hypertension. Copyright © 2010 by the American Society of Nephrology.