About the Book
In What the Word BE: Why Black English is the King's (James) English!, Diane Proctor Reeder provides a biting social commentary on the significance of Black English in America as an alternative language, which she contends should be recognized for its dual heritage: not only from the shores of Africa, but from the “White Cliffs of Dover” in England! In fact, Reeder contends that Black English has cousins in the hills of West Virginia as well as Canada’s Nova Scotia and Newfoundland. All of these forms of English were central in the book which bears the name of the 17th century monarch, King James: The Bible, the ONLY book that enslaved persons were allowed to read. Her point? Black culture is Black wealth, African Americans ignore that to their peril…and all Americans should respect the roots of this rich and powerful language. She challenges linguists, educators and all of us to affirm the significance of this truly American linguistic form, and finally to judge people, and Black children in particular, not by the “color” of their speech, but instead by their content, heart and character.