In this series of short interviews, John Russell Rickford, former President of the Linguistics Society of America and one of the foremost experts in African American Vernacular English, discusses his recently published autobiography, Speaking my Soul.

Part 1

In this first interview Prof. Rickford tells us why he decided to write his autobiography and explores how his own research into his family tree has affected his understanding of his own racial identity.

Part 2

In part two, Prof. Rickford discusses the teachers who first influenced his interest in linguistics. He then tells us about his emigration to the US to study, and how life in a new country developed his own understanding of black consciousness and identity.

Part 3

Prof. Rickford explores his degree in sociolinguistics, the development of his interest and his work in Black Talk.

Part 4

In the fourth part of this series, John Russell Rickford talks about the importance of linguistics making a positive difference in the world, explores ways he has tried to do that in his own work, and talks of how sociolinguists can leave a legacy for those who come after them.

Part 5

In the final part, John Russell Rickford talks about his meetings with some of the most iconic figures in the fight for civil rights for black people, Rosa Parks and Dennis Brutus.