Background: Heart disease and stroke are the first and third leading causes of death of American women, respectively. African American women experience a disproportionate burden of these diseases compared with Caucasian women and are also more likely to delay seeking treatment for acute symptoms. As knowledge is a first step in seeking care, this study examined the knowledge of heart attack and stroke symptoms among African American women. Methods: This was a cross-sectional study analyzing 2003-2005 Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance Survey (BRFSS) data. A composite heart attack and stroke knowledge score was computed for each respondent from the 13 heart attack and stroke symptom knowledge questions. Multivariate logistic regression was performed using low scores on the heart attack and stroke knowledge questions as the dependent variable. Results: Twenty percent of the respondents were low scorers, and 23.8% were high scorers. Logistic regression analysis showed that adult African American women who earned low scores on the composite heart attack and stroke knowledge questions (range 0-8 points) were more likely to be aged 18-34 (OR = 1.36, CI 1.35, 1.37), be uninsured (OR = 1.32, CI 1.31, 1.33), have an annual household income <$35,000 (OR = 1.46, CI 1.45, 1.47), and have a primary healthcare provider (OR = 1.22, CI 1.20, 1.23). Conclusions: The findings indicated that knowledge of heart attack and stroke symptoms varied significantly among African American women, depending on socioeconomic variables. Targeting interventions to African American women, particularly those in lower socioeconomic groups, may increase knowledge of heart attack and stroke symptoms, subsequently improving preventive action taken in response to these conditions.