The Athens branch of the Association for the Study of African American Life and History, the University of Georgia Libraries, and the UGA Institute for African American Studies will present the Athens premiere of Talking Black in America on Tuesday, Dec. 10, 2019 at the Athens-Clarke County Public Library.
“The Athens branch of ASALH is honored to present the film,” said Maurice Daniels, dean emeritus of the UGA School of Social Work and president of the Athens branch. “We look forward to a robust discussion about the journey of African Americans and their influence on language and culture in America."
Talking Black in America is based on decades of research involving language dialects from all parts of the United States and aims to shine a light on ignored or misunderstood contributions of African Americans to American language and life more broadly. “On a fundamental level … understanding African American speech is absolutely critical to understanding the way we talk today,” producer Walt Wolfram said of the project.
“As both a native Georgian and a scholar who studies creoles and African American language, I sat enthralled as the film takes us through the many neighborhoods and communities of America, especially those of the Gullah Geechee people,” Kim Waters, a doctoral student in linguistics, said. “Their ancestral land in the low country of Georgia and South Carolina is under constant threat, both from Mother Nature and human greed.”
The screenings will be presented at 6 p.m. in the Jon and Virginia Appleton Auditorium at the Athens-Clarke County Library, located at 2025 Baxter St.
After the screening, Jon Forrest, assistant professor of linguistics at UGA, will lead a discussion.
“Talking Black in America provides an important perspective on the complexities of African American language, examining how it can be used as a mechanism for discrimination, but also how it is employed as a tool for resistance and cultural celebration,” Forrest said. “The film brings clarity to a language variety chronically mischaracterized in the popular conception.”
A reception with light refreshments will follow the discussion.
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