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028 52 1116274|bKanopy 
035    (OCoLC)914225160 
040    CaSfKAN|beng|erda|cCaSfKAN 
043    e-fr--- 
245 04 The Language You Cry In.|h[Kanopy electronic resource] 
264  1 [San Francisco, California, USA] :|bKanopy Streaming,
300    1 online resource (1 video file, approximately 53 min.) :
       |bdigital, .flv file, sound 
336    two-dimensional moving image|btdi|2rdacontent 
337    computer|bc|2rdamedia 
338    online resource|bcr|2rdacarrier 
344    digital 
347    video file|bMPEG-4|bFlash 
500    Title from title frames. 
518    Originally produced by California Newsreel in 1998. 
520    The Language You Cry In tells an amazing scholarly 
       detective story that searches for -and finds- meaningful 
       links between African Americans and their ancestral past. 
       It bridges hundreds of years and thousands of miles from 
       the Gullah people of present-day Georgia back to 18th 
       century Sierra Leone. It recounts the even more remarkable
       saga of how African Americans have retained links with 
       their African past through the horrors of the middle 
       passage, slavery and segregation. The film dramatically 
       demonstrates the contribution of contemporary scholarship 
       to restoring what narrator Vertamae Grosvenor calls the 
       "non-history" imposed on African Americans: "This is a 
       story of memory, how the memory of a family was pieced 
       together through a song with legendary powers to connect 
       those who sang it with their roots." The story begins in 
       the early 1930s with Lorenzo Turner, an African American 
       linguist who cataloged more than 3000 names and words of 
       African origin among the Gullah of coastal Georgia and 
       South Carolina. He discovered that some Gullah could 
       recite texts in African languages, including almost 
       certainly the longest, a five-line song he learned from a 
       woman living in a remote Georgia fishing village, Amelia 
       Dawley. Although Amelia did not know the meaning of the 
       syllables in the song, a Sierra Leonean graduate student 
       in the U.S. recognized it as Mende, his native tongue. 
       These dramatic clues were taken up again in the l980s by 
       Joseph Opala, an American anthropologist at Sierra Leone's
       Fourah Bay College. Studying Bunce Island, an 18th century
       British slave castle, Opala discovered that it sent many 
       of its captives to Georgia and South Carolina where 
       American rice planters paid a premium for experienced 
       slaves from Africa's "Rice Coast." The comparative 
       coherence of this slave community may account for the high
       degree of African cultural retention among the Gullah. In 
       1989 Opala helped organize a gala homecoming for a Gullah 
       delegation to their long-lost African sisters and brothers
       documented in an earlier California Newsreel release, 
       Family Across the Sea. Opala joined with ethnomusicologist
       Cynthia Schmidt and Sierra Leonean linguist Tazieff Koroma
       in an arduous search to see if Amelia Dawley's song was 
       still remembered anywhere in Sierra Leone. Although the 
       Mende are the largest ethnic group in Sierra Leone, Koroma
       recognized one word as unique to a dialect spoken only in 
       southern Sierra Leone. On their last day in the area, 
       Cynthia Schmidt discovered a woman, Baindu Jabati, living 
       in the remote interior village of Senehum Ngola, who had 
       preserved a song with strikingly similar lyrics, a dirge 
       performed during a graveside ceremony called Tenjami or 
       "crossing the river." Her grandmother taught her the song 
       because birth and death rites are women's responsibilities
       in Mende culture. At the same time she made the uncanny 
       prediction that there would be a return of lost kinsman 
       and that Baindu would recognize them through this song. 
       Schmidt and Opala then went to Georgia where they found 
       Amelia Dawley's daughter, Mary Moran, age 69, who 
       remembered her mother singing the song. Though transformed
       in plantation culture to a children's rhyme, there was 
       also continuity since the song was passed down by women on
       both sides. A reunion between Mary and Baindu had to be 
       postponed because of a devastating rebel war in Sierra 
       Leone which left millions homeless, including Baindu 
       herself. Finally in 1997, Mary Moran and her family could 
       travel and, after a painful visit to Bunce Island, were 
       received with jubilation in Senehum Ngola. The village's 
       blind, 90 year old chief, Nabi Jah, organized a teijami 
       ceremony for Mary, even though it had been in desuetude 
       since the introduction of Christianity and Islam earlier 
       in the century. Thus Mary's homecoming became a catalyst 
       for Mende people to rediscover a part of their own past. 
       When Opala asked Nabi Jah why a Mende woman exiled two 
       hundred years ago would have preserved this particular 
       song, he replied that the answer was obvious. "That song 
       would be the most valuable thing she could take. It could 
       connect her to all her ancestors and to their continued 
       blessings." Then he quoted a Mende proverb, "You know who 
       a person really is by the language they cry in." The 
       Language You Cry In shows the significant benefits of 
       multi-disciplinary research. It also is a striking example
       of scholars working with their informants as colleagues; 
       the "research subjects," African and American, were not 
       just observed but actively recruited into researching and 
       analyzing their own histories. Events, sometimes national 
       in scope, were organized so that individuals and 
       communities could make new research findings their own as 
       part of a "usable past." Meaning thus emerged out of the 
       deliberate clash of present and past. As we watch Mary and
       Baindu reunited in a tearful rendition of this ancient 
       song, we realize how 20th century scholarship and media 
       technology are making their own modest contribution to 
       preserving bonds within the African Diaspora. 
538    Mode of access: World Wide Web. 
650  0 Mende |zAfrica|zSierra Leone. 
650  0 Funeral rites and ceremonies|zAfrica|zSierra Leone. 
650  0 Ethnomusicology|xFolk songs|xGullahs|zAfrica|zSierra 
650  0 African Americans|xRace identity|zUnited States|zGeorgia. 
655  7 Documentary films.|2lcgft 
700 1  Serrano, Angel |efilm director. 
700 1  Toepke, Alvaro |efilm director. 
700 1  Grosvenor, Vertamae |enarrator. 
710 2  Kanopy (Firm) 
856 40 |u|zA Kanopy 
       streaming video 
856 42 |zCover Image|u