OBJECTIVE: To describe radiographic changes in African Americans with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) from the Consortium for the Longitudinal Evaluations of African Americans with Early Rheumatoid Arthritis (CLEAR) Registry, a multicenter observational study. METHODS: Self-declared African American patients were enrolled in CLEAR I, a longitudinal cohort of early RA (disease duration of <2 years) from 2000 to 2005, or in CLEAR II, a cross-sectional cohort (any disease duration) from 2006 to the present. Demographic and clinical data were obtained, and sets of hand/wrist and foot radiographs were scored using the modified Sharp/van der Heijde scoring system. RESULTS: A total of 357 and 418 patients were enrolled in CLEAR I and CLEAR II, respectively. We report here an interim analysis of radiographic severity in these patients. For the CLEAR I cohort, 294 patients had a mean radiographic score of 2.89 at the baseline visit; 32.0% showed either erosions (25.9%) or joint space narrowing (JSN; 19.4%). At the 36-month visit, the mean score was 5.65; 44.2% had erosions, 41.5% had JSN, and 54.4% had either. Among those patients without radiographic damage at baseline, 18.9% had progressed at the 36-month visit, compared with 57.1% of those with baseline damage (P < 0.0001). For the CLEAR II cohort, of 167 patients with RA of any duration, 65.3% exhibited joint erosions, 65.3% exhibited JSN, and 74.8% exhibited either. The mean radiographic score was 33.42. CONCLUSION: To our knowledge, this is the largest radiographic study of African American RA patients. Damage occurs early in the disease and is associated with radiographic progression at 3 years of disease duration. The CLEAR Registry will provide a valuable resource for future analyses of genetic, clinical, and environmental factors associated with radiographic severity of RA in African Americans.