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College of Arts and Sciences

Talking Black in America film shoot

“Talking Black in America” screening highlights diversity

Sept. 29 event features documentary, Q&A session with producers

African American language traditions have significantly shaped contemporary American English and society as a whole despite stereotypes and misinformation to the contrary.

“Talking Black in America,” a new documentary focusing on the historical, socio-political, and linguistic realities of African American English, will be screened Friday, Sept. 29 at the Russell House Theater.

The event, which is free and open to the public, begins at 2:30 p.m. and includes a question and answer session with executive producer Walt Wolfram of North Carolina State University and associate producer Tracey Weldon of the College of Arts and Sciences’ English Department and Linguistics Program.

“A collaborative project featuring linguists, scholars and community members from throughout the country, the documentary illustrates the overall diversity of African American language varieties and presents a highly-informed portrayal of language issues related to African American heritage and culture,” says Weldon, English professor and associate dean for diversity and inclusion in the College of Arts and Sciences. “Dr. Wolfram and I look forward to a lively and engaging discussion with students, faculty and members of the community after the film screening.”

The 66-minute documentary includes footage from a range of places such as the Caribbean, rural South, Harlem, Detroit, and Chicago. It examines the historical roots of African American language, its role in contemporary society and its essential function in artistic performance. 

Learn more about “Talking Black in America” in this trailer.  The screening and accompanying session with the producers are sponsored by the College of Arts and Sciences, the Office of Diversity and Inclusion and the Linguistics Program.