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Ebonics: The Retention of African Tongues

Language is a distinctive attribute and quality of being human. The African tongues in the mouths of African Americans must be honored and respected as a fundamental aspect of being human and African in America. The recognition and respect for the way African Americans naturally speak—that is, Ebonics (also known as African American Vernacular English)—is an essential aspect of the African American cultural heritage and must be preserved and advanced.

During the experience of enslavement, African captives were forbidden to use their own systems of communication. Plantation owners and other enslavers sought to protect themselves against insurrections and rebellions by reducing communication. Africans who were taken from areas in which similar language families existed were separated. Through physical separation and imposition of their enslavers’ ...

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