This study investigates the association of CRP (C-reactive protein) single-nucleotide polymorphisms (SNPs) with plasma CRP levels and radiographic severity in African Americans with early and established rheumatoid arthritis (RA). Using a cross-sectional case-only design, CRP SNPs were genotyped in two independent sets of African Americans with RA: Consortium for the Longitudinal Evaluation of African Americans with RA (CLEAR 1) and CLEAR 2. Radiographic data and CRP measurements were available for 294 individuals from CLEAR 1 (median (interquartile range (IQR) 25-75) disease duration of 1 (0.6-1.6) year) and in 407 persons from CLEAR 2 (median (IQR 25-75) disease duration of 8.9 (3.5-17.7) years). In CLEAR 1, in adjusted models, the minor allele of rs2808630 was associated with total radiographic score (incident rate ratio 0.37 (95% confidence interval (CI) 0.19-0.74), P-value=0.0051). In CLEAR 2, the minor allele of rs3093062 was associated with increased plasma CRP levels (P-value=0.002). For each rs3093062 minor allele, the plasma CRP increased by 1.51 (95% CI 1.15-1.95) mg dl-1 when all the other covariates remained constant. These findings have important implications for assessment of the risk of joint damage in African Americans with RA.