The Language You Cry In

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 • 5:30 pm - 8:00 pm
Homewood Branch of the Carnegie Library

Add to Calendar08/16/2017 05:30 PM08/16/2017 08:00 PMAmerica/New_YorkFrom Slavery to Freedom Film Series: The Language You Cry InJoin us for a screening of “The Language You Cry In” at the Homewood Library as part of the From Slavery to Freedom film series.Homewood Branch of the Carnegie LibraryHeinz History CenterfalseMM/DD/YYYY

The History Center, in collaboration with the Homewood branch of the Carnegie Library, present the film, “The Language You Cry In.” The film is a documentary study of the language and culture of Gullah from the South Carolina sea island, or low country region. It is heavily based on the research of Dr. Lorenzo Dow Turner who proferred the language of Gullah as a distinct language developed by the enslaved of the region. The film will be moderated by Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black, associate professor of history at CMU and expert on Turner and Gullah history and culture.

“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 scholarship featuring Vertamae Grosvenor, Lorenzo Dow Turner, and Joeseph Opala.  In the l980s, Joseph Opala, an American anthropologist at Sierra Leone’s Fourah Bay College studying Bunce Island, an 18th century British slave castle, 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 film will be moderated by Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black, CMU Africanist and author of “Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and The African Diaspora.”


Admission is free. Registration is not required.

This public program will be held at the Homewood Library Auditorium, 7101 Hamilton Ave., Pittsburgh, PA 15208.

The History Center’s From Slavery to Freedom Film Series is sponsored by Carnegie Library of Pittsburgh.

For more information, please contact Samuel W. Black, director of African American Programs, at 412-454-6391 or

Dr. Edda Fields-BlackAbout Dr. Edda L. Fields-Black

Fields-Black is the author of “Deep Roots: Rice Farmers in West Africa and the African Diaspora” and co-editor of “Rice: Global Networks and New Histories.” She is currently working on two books, “Harriett Tubman and the Combahee River Raid” and a history of the “Gullah Geeche.” Fields-Black is the producer/librettist of the “Requiem for Rice” project that will fuse film, opera, classical music, and art into a major production to honor and remember those enslaved Africans who suffered as laborers on rice plantations from the Carolinas to northern Florida. She is well versed in the work of Lorenzo Dow Turner and will offer her insight on the film.