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date: 18 November 2019

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter utilizes a language ideology perspective, grounded in a race­class historical analysis, to overview the relationship between African American Language and the education of US slave descendants from the 1950s through the end of the twentieth century. The historical overview summarizes and critiques “language programs for the disadvantaged,” linguistic cognitive deficit theories about Black people, and reading programs designed for “teaching Black students to read.” The chapter provides an in­depth discussion of the educational and public controversy around Martin Luther King Jr. Schoolchildren, et al. v. the Ann Arbor School District Board (1977­79; popularly known as the “Black English Case”) and the equally controversial 1996 Oakland, California School Board Resolution on Ebonics. Given current crises in Black youth communities (e.g., school­to­prison pipeline for Black males), the overview concludes with a clarion call to all those committed to educational equity and social justice.

Keywords: King v. Ann Arbor, “Black English Case”, cognitive deficit theory, Oakland Ebonics Controversy, African American Language, education, reading programs

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