Languages and Cultures of Enslaved Africans in America: Black History Month, Part 3

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Episode Description:
When enslaved Africans were forcibly brought to America, their names were changed by slaveholders and they were often forbidden to speak their native languages. Nevertheless, these rich cultures were never entirely suppressed, and their influence can be seen in the United States today.

Script for Languages and Cultures of Enslaved Africans in America: Black History Month, Part 3

60-Second Civics, Episode 4245

Languages and Cultures of Enslaved Africans in America: Black History Month, Part 3


Welcome to 60-Second Civics, the daily podcast of the Center for Civic Education. I'm Mark Gage.

The people forcibly taken from Africa to work in the homes and fields of America had a rich diversity of languages, cultures, and religions.

These enslaved people came from a wide variety of African ethnic groups, particularly from West Africa, such as the Akan, Congo, Ewe, Hausa, and Yoruba.

As time went on, enslaved Africans adopted words from English and other languages, as well as their native languages, to form creole, a local mix of these languages, which was passed down through the generations.

Today, Gullah is still spoken by a few thousand people in Georgia and South Carolina.

Slaveholders often regarded the native African languages as low and primitive.

The enslaved people were sometimes brutally mistreated if they spoke their native languages.

However, many words in American English have African origins.

Words for foods stand out, such as gumbo, okra, yam, and even cola.

That’s all for today’s podcast.

60-Second Civics, where civic education only takes a minute.


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