MLK tidbit

Elizabeth Gregory e-gregory at TAMU.EDU
Wed Jan 17 17:16:28 UTC 2001

According to the A&E Biography, Poitier was "Born in Miami in 1924 and raised on a tomato farm in the Bahamas."

For more info, see

Elizabeth Gregory

>>> lanehart at ARCHES.UGA.EDU 01/17/01 10:17AM >>>
I don't recall exactly where, but I thought Sydney Poitier was not
U.S. born and raised. I saw him on Oprah a few months ago because my
aunt taped the interview. On there, he talks about how he came to the
U.S. in his late teens. I've bought his book so I'll check there.

>For Martin Luther King Day, here's a linguistic tidbit about Southern AAVE
>In MLK's 1963 "I have a dream" speech, King (born in Atlanta) is 85% r-less,
>115 out of 135 tokens (the rhotic pronunciations are virtually all in a
>stressed or unstressed central V).  Compare Miami-born actor Sydney Poitier
>in Patch of Blue (1965) at 69% and in Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967) at
>62%... versus Philadelphian Bill Cosby in Mother Jugs & Speed (1976) at 11%.
>Thirty-seven years later, Jesse Jackson (born in South Carolina) was still
>79% r-less in his speech at the 2000 Democratic National Convention -
>187/237 tokens - (but rather than being purely phonologically conditioned,
>it looks like his rhotic tokens are mainly a few lexical items such as
>'workers' - both syllables, 'center, deferred, surplus').   A fun contrast
>to him is Ted Kennedy, whose r-less rate in his DNC-2000 speech was 11%
>(27/252 tokens), confined mainly to the words 'mother,' 'brother(s),' and
>'seniors' - but not 'father.'  (Oh, and Caroline Kennedy's address at the
>DNC was 0% r-less.)  I'll eventually get to the other African-American DNC
>speakers (M and F) so I can compare them.
>Happy Martin Luther King Day,
>Nancy Elliott
>Southern Oregon University

Sonja L. Lanehart
Department of English      706-542-2260 (office)
University of Georgia      706-542-1261 (messages)
300 Park Hall              706-542-2181 (fax)
Athens, GA 30605-6205      lanehart at

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