John Rickford, Ph. D.

    John Rickford, Ph.D., is Chairman of the African American Department at Stanford University and has been Professor of Linguistics at Stanford University for 18 years.  He is considered the world’s foremost authority on the ebonics issue and is a consultant to the American Heritage Dictionary, and the author, editor and co-author of many authoritative books on African-American Vernacular English, with such presses as Cambridge University and Routledge. When the issue hit, Mr. Rickford was at the center of the media storm, interviewed by such publications as The New York Times, The Washington Post, Atlantic Monthly, The Los Angeles Times, Newsweek, Jet, USA Today, on TV by ABC News, Nickelodeon’s TV and others, and on radio by National Public Radio’s "Talk of the Nation," "Forum" and "To the Best of Our Knowledge." Jesse Jackson was initially against ebonics, but after he met with John Rickford and a few Oakland administrators behind closed doors and had a chance to hear what they had to say, he publicly changed his stance. John Rickford has been asked by the Oakland School district to help evaluate their Ebonics/Standard English Proficiency program, starting in November 1997. He is co-author of SPOKEN SOUL:  THE STORY OF BLACK ENGLISH (Wiley), which will be the definitive book on the controversial issue.

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