The field of renal transplantation has grown exponentially as a result of a greater understanding of the immune system and the advent of numerous immunosuppressive agents. Although African Americans and whites have benefited from these advances, equivalent long-term success eludes African Americans who are disadvantaged in gaining access to renal transplantation. This review summarizes the obstacles for African Americans to end-stage renal disease (ESRD) care, focusing on transplantation. Factors that predispose African Americans for ESRD, impede this ethnic group from timely transplantation, and negatively influence graft survival are examined. Possible solutions to these persistent problems are offered. © 2005 Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.