Talking Black in America – Roots

Three young men stand smiling and posing on a beach
Young girl in white dress with red sash dances with young boy in red shirt

Talking Black in America – Roots explores linguistic connections among the peoples and societies of West Africa and the African Diaspora. The film is the third program in the Emmy Award-winning series Talking Black in America, which includes five interrelated documentaries on African American language and culture and their transformative influence on the United States and beyond.

Filmed in Ghana, The Bahamas, and throughout the United States, Talking Black in America – Roots follows the unique circumstances of the descendants of the American slaves and their incredible impact on American life and language. Through interviews with sociologists, historians, linguistics specialists, and community leaders, the film traces how speech varieties from the African American community reflect the imprint of African language systems, the influences of regional British and Southern American dialects, and the creativity and resilience of people living through oppression, segregation, and the fight for equality.

Part of the series African Languages, Literatures, and Film, sponsored by the Institute for African Development at the Mario Einaudi Center for International Studies