What do texts and theories about, and the uses of, the languages and cultures of Africans and their descendants in the Diaspora reveal about the making of race- and class-related hierarchies of power throughout the world?  What do these texts and theories require of all of us and how can they be enriched by our own analyses—of us as local community members and as world citizens? How can we improve our future through the study of our past? How can we identify and analyze general global patterns through the study of the local and specific?
And,  most importantly, how can this “Black Matters” subject at MIT be made relevant to the “Black Lives Matter” movement writ large? We will use selected texts and theories to analyze the shaping and reshaping of languages, cultures and identities in Africa and the African Diaspora, especially in the “New World.” Haiti, my native land, will serve as starting point for these big questions that bear on both local and global issues of relevant to us here at MIT—and beyond, of relevance to our future as change makers.  We will use language, linguistics, education, history, religion, literature, etc., to examine how theories and concomitant attitudes about Africans and their descendants in the African Diaspora have shaped, and have been shaped by, global events through struggle, rebellion, critique and innovation. And the struggle continues… YES, BLACK LIVES MATTER