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.
Diane Proctor Reeder is an author, editor, playwright and business owner. She is a partner in Strategic Partners International and Strategic Communications, consulting firms that specialize in training, multicultural marketing, community outreach and government relations. Her other company, Written Images, provides communications, editing and book packaging services for clients, which include the University of Michigan, a number of national speakers, and several Christian publishing houses. She has also co-produced radio and television programming. Her plays—A Cloud of Women and Reconciliation: The Story of Sarah and Hagar—focus on the under-presented yet fascinating stories of women in the Bible. Her other two books--A Diary of Joseph and Listen: A Symphony of Faith--chronicle her personal spiritual journey as she traveled with her husband during his four-year battle with Leukemia, which ended in his passing in 1998. She attended Spelman College in Atlanta, GA; and holds a B.A. in Journalism and Economics and a Masters in Public Policy from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor.