I don’t think the Alabama Democrats or anyone else in 1901 had ever heard of “African Americans”. The sooner we drop this ridiculous appellation, the better off we all will be.
Yes, it is a wretched neologism. At the risk of sounding as if a hopeless provincial, notice there is no equivalent appelation other than lower-case “whites”. European-American, for example.
Hyphenation is always suspect, then.