Lorenzo Dow Turner: Beyond Gullah Studies MARGARET WADE-LEWIS State University of New York, New Paltz, NY, USA
In the summer of 1930, Lorenzo Turner, a forty-year old professor of English at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee, attended the Linguistics Institute in New York City. There he joined a number of other language professors, dialectologists and practicing linguists, including Hans Kurath, who was the Director of the Linguistics Atlas of the United States and Canada Project. Later that same year, on December 11, 1930, Kurath sent a mimeographed letter to Turner and a number of other persons, recommending that they participate in the data collection. Turner’s copy of the letter contained a handwritten note from Kurath, which stated in part, “The investigation will ultimately be extended Southward. I hope that you will help us then.”1 Turner’s reply was immediate. On December 24, 1930, he answered Kurath, informing him that he would forego his plans to spend the summer teaching at South Carolina State College in Orangeburg in order to attend the 1931 Linguistics Institute. Turner expressed his enthusiasm for gaining further skills in collecting and analyzing dialect data: . . . Since I received your letter, I have decided to attend the Linguistics Institute again and to take Professor Jud’s course of lectures and probably some courses that will help in my future work on American dialects. . . . I shall always be happy to take an active part in work on dialects as I am qualified to take. I like it better than any work I have ever done.2 It has generally been assumed in the linguistic community that the opportunity to study Gullah materialized, capturing Turner’s interest, fortuitously becoming one of his many projects. On the contrary, according to the article, “Colorful Dialect Is Saved from Oblivion: Young Couple Now in Providence Has Recorded Picturesque Tongue of Islanders off South Carolina Coast,” which appeared in The Evening Bulletin of Providence, Rhode Island, on August 13, 1934, the research opportunity was the realization of one of Turner’s long-held goals. For years it was his goal, while he was a student at Howard, later during graduate work at Harvard from which university he took his master’s degree and the University of Chicago where he obtained his doctorate.
Though his home has for years been in Washington, Dr. Turner was born in North Carolina. Having always known of the Gullahs, his plan for recording their speech did not become a reality until a few years ago.3 On March 18, 1932, Donald Goodchild, Secretary of Fellowships and Grants, notified Turner that he had been awarded a grant from the American Council of American Societies. With a grant in aid from Fisk University and the American Council of Learned Societies grant, Turner made plans. He was armed with the International Phonetic Association transcription process and an 800 item Linguistic Atlas questionnaire. His recording devise was a Fairchild Aerial Camera Corporation “recording machine” also provided by the American Council.4 The Baltimore Afro-American, The New York Amsterdam News and The Washington Times all covered the unfolding story of the nascence of the scientific investigation of Gullah. The press manifested an interest for several reasons: because Turner was awarded a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies for his research, no doubt one of the first African Americans to receive such an award; because his study of Gullah was in and of itself a first; and because Turner was the Chair of the Department of English at Fisk University, one of the oldest and most prestigious of the historically Black colleges in the United States.5 When Turner settled in the Sea Islands for the first time in the Fall of 1932, after attending the Linguistics Institute again during the summer of 1931, he remained until late December. There he became the first linguist to carry out systematic interviews of Gullah speakers. His informants spoke into the large, cumbersome gasoline-powered recorder that utilized copper wire as the “tape.” Over the weeks and months, Turner interviewed twenty-one Gullah speakers, filling a notebook on each with the details of his or her ideolect – phonology, morphology, syntax, and semantics. In order to insure that his data reflected differences from various generations, he intentionally selected two speakers over the age of sixty and one speaker between forty and sixty years of age from each island. Three were from each of seven areas. In Georgia, Turner focused on Harris Neck and Brewer’s Neck, Sapeloe Island, and St. Simon Island. In South Carolina, he focused on Edisto, Johns, St. Helena and Wadmalow Islands.6 During the summer of 1934, Turner attended the Linguistics Institute for a third time, on this occasion at Brown University in Rhode Island. By then Hans Kurath was on the faculty of the German Department at Brown. The Evening Bulletin article mentioned previously was prompted by the attendance of Turner and his first wife, Geneva Calcier Townes Turner, at the Linguistics Institute in 1934. In 1933, Geneva, an elementary school teacher
LORENZO DOW TURNER: BEYOND GULLAH STUDIES
in Washington, D.C., having “spent her evenings studying phonetics in order to be ready to become her husband’s associate and scribe,” accompanied Turner to the Sea Islands, assisting him with the data collection. At the 1934 Linguistics Institute, together they reported on the progress of the research.7 In retrospect, it is clear that in 1930 the descriptive linguist in Turner was born. “Linguists from All Parts of Country Meet at Brown University,” from The Providence Journal on Saturday, July 21, 1934, featured a photograph of those attending the Linguistics Institute. They were, first row, left to right: Bert Emsley, Ohio State; Claude Wise, University of Louisiana; Herbert Penzl, Brown; Hans Kurath, Brown; Mrs. Norman Kilpatrick, Brown; Elizabeth F. Gardner, Mt. Holyoke. The second row, left to right, featured Marguerite Chapallaz, University College of London; Margaret Chase, Mt. Holyoke; Samuel J. McCoy, William and Mary College; Mrs. Bernard Bloch, Wellesley; Mrs. Lorenzo Dow (Geneva) Turner, Howard University; and Jane E. Daddow, Vassar. The third row, left to right, featured: Archibald A. Hill, University of Virginia; Eston E. Ericson, University of North Carolina; Lorenzo Dow Turner, Fisk University; and Bernard Bloch of Brown. The latter article stands as testimony that Turner was well-connected with his contemporaries in the world of languages and linguistics. Once Turner began his work on Gullah, he committed every available summer to data collection. According to Turner’s “Statement of Work,” prepared for his grant proposal for Brazil on February 17, 1940, collectively he spent approximately fourteen months in Gullah territory, gathering linguistic data, and making between “250 to 300 double-faced phonograph records of folk tales, proverbs, songs, prayers, sermons, and other narratives. . . .”8 While Turner interviewed a number of additional speakers, the twenty-one were his major informants. When he returned in the summers of 1933, 1934 and 1935, it was to expand his corpus. In subsequent summers, 1939, 1940, 1942, he returned with the in-depth knowledge he had gained from his study of African languages at the School of Oriental and African Languages at the University of London during 1936–1937. By 1937, he was certain of the African origins of the Gullah creole and aware of the uniqueness of his data. He engaged in data collection on the sea islands for the last time in 1942.9 Over a period of years between 1932 and 1949, Turner presented a number of conference papers on Gullah, the first being for the Annual meeting of the American Dialect Society at Yale University on December 31, 1932.10 In 1931, he joined the Linguistics Society of America, becoming its first African American member. Around the same time, he joined the American Dialect Society.11
His major work, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (1949), the first linguistic study of Gullah, well-documented and original, was the first analysis to prove that vestiges of the Niger Kordofanian languages of Africa have survived in the United States, Africanisms makes him the undisputed “Father of Gullah Studies.” Turner’s contribution to Gullah is now legendary. On the other hand, the rich montage of contributions that represents the entirety of his legacy is less well known. This analysis seeks to elaborate on some of them. Turner was truly a “New Negro,” to utilize the phrase of Alain Locke in the 1925 book of the same name. Born at the edge of the new century, Turner was well educated, socially conscious and adventurous. Nurtured by his mother, inspired by his father, he trod untrodden paths to unveil knowledge that has changed and broadened American linguistics, advanced the field of pidgin and creole linguistics, and hastened the development of African Studies and inter-disciplinary studies. Turner was poised for prominence. Born on August 21, 1890, he was the last of four sons of Rooks and Elizabeth Freeman Turner, from Elizabeth City, North Carolina. The Turner clan traces its roots to the birth of Polly Rooks in Gates County, fifty miles outside Elizabeth City, in 1799. Polly was the daughter of Sally Rooks, a Euro-American woman who bore four daughters with one of her father’s enslaved Africans, “a black man of exceeding height and large stature whose name was Jacob Brady.”12 Because the members of his family were born free, they experienced greater opportunities than their enslaved peers, becoming professionals in the skilled crafts in significant numbers. Turner’s father, a member of the third generation, was one of the earliest graduates of Howard University and one of the first men to earn both a Bachelor’s Degree (1877) and a Master’s Degree (1900) from that university. He and a limited number of his peers were the first generation of African Americans to be able to earn a living wage from the pursuits of the mind. Rooks Turner’s major professor was Francis Cardozo, an early scholar of Greek and Latin. After graduation in 1877, he returned to North Carolina, founding the Rooks Turner Normal School to prepare teachers to work in the public schools. After 1896, he relocated to Montgomery County, Maryland, where he served as a public school teacher until 1922.13 When Turner was born, he was named Lorenzo Dow, for the prominent Methodist minister (1777–1834) and writer of the “Great Awakening,” whose mission was to evangelize the United States South.14 Turner, born in 1890, the same year as the anthropologist Zora Neale Hurston, twenty-two years after W.E.B. Du Bois (1868), and fifteen years after Carter G. Woodson (1875), also was inspired with a mission. He felt a double sense of social responsibility characteristic of the group W.E.B. Du Bois referred to as the
LORENZO DOW TURNER: BEYOND GULLAH STUDIES
“talented tenth.” His mission was to produce as much scholarly data about the contributions of African people as possible. Consequently, he earned an A.B. in English from Howard University in 1914; a Master’s in English from Harvard in 1917; and a Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago in 1926.15 The Harlem Renaissance was a major influence on Americans during Turner’s early adulthood. The optimism and the focus on Africa as a source of race pride were manifested in both the arts and the social sciences. Turner and many of his friends and colleagues were involved, either as named players or as persons whose work reflected the premises of the time. Aaron Douglas, the painter, and Arna Bontemps, the writer, were at Fisk University while Turner was there – Douglass on the faculty and Bontemps as a librarian. Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Negro History Week (now Black History Month), served as Dean of Arts and Sciences during the academic year 1919–1920 during Turner’s tenure at Howard University. Alain Locke, editor of The New Negro: An Interpretation (1925), was a faculty member at Howard University while Turner was there. Zora Neale Hurston was one of his students at Howard University, receiving an A.A. Degree in 1920. The sociologist, Charles Johnson, who later became one of Turner’s colleagues in African Studies at Fisk, and by 1947 the first African American president of Fisk, played a pivotal role in the Renaissance by serving as editor of the Urban League’s Opportunity magazine. Opportunity opened its pages to artists by sponsoring literary contests. Turner knew W.E.B. Du Bois and Carter G. Woodson well. He prepared articles and book reviews for Carter G. Woodson’s Journal of Negro History and Negro History Bulletin.16 During the early 1920s when Turner studied at the University of Chicago, the theoretical school of sociology often referred to as “The Chicago School of Sociology” held sway. The major proponent, Robert Park, utilized a model of race relations that proposed that whenever non-European people interact for a significant period with Europeans, adaptation follows a sequential pattern. That is, competition leads to conflict; conflict leads to accommodation; and accommodation ultimately leads to assimilation. From Park’s perspective, virtually nothing African had been maintained among Blacks in the Diaspora.17 Park influenced a generation of sociologists and other social scientists, among them E. Franklin Frazier and Charles Johnson. When the first African Studies Program was founded in the United States at Fisk University in 1943, Park, by then a professor of seventy-nine years of age and a Professor Emeritus from the University of Chicago, was one of the founding members. The others were Charles Johnson, the Director, a committed former student from the University of Chicago, who invited
Park to Fisk; Edwin Smith, President and co-founder of the International Institute of African Languages and Cultures in Great Britain; Ina Brown, a social anthropologist; Mark Hanna Watkins, a linguistic anthropologist, and Lorenzo Dow Turner.18 By the 1920s, with the assimilation model in competition with the African retentions model, researchers were often associated with one or the other. Turner did not adopt the tenets of the Chicago School assimilation model. It is worth noting that he surely had significant exposure to it, first as a Ph.D. student at the University of Chicago from 1923 to 1926. His exposure then continued at Fisk University, beginning with his tenure on the faculty. Two sources of the exposure were Robert Park and Turner’s friend, E. Franklin Frazier, author of The Negro Family in the United States (1939). Frazier served on the faculty at Fisk University from 1929 to 1934, with both him and Turner having joined in 1929.19 The Africanist in Turner began to take definite shape when, during data collection on the Sea Islands, he concluded that the non-Indo-European or African language element in Gullah had been greatly under estimated. He realized that it was necessary for him to study African languages in order construct an accurate analysis of his Gullah data. Consequently, Turner sought and gained a grant from the American Council of Learned Societies. Having been successful in doing so, Turner wrote to Daniel Jones, the President of the International Phonetic Association, on April 6, 1936, elaborating on his plans: Next year at the University of London, in addition to pursuing certain courses in phonetics, I should like to study the phonetic structure of certain West African languages with a view to determine, if possible, the nature and content of African survivals in Gullah.20 During 1936–1937, Turner studied at the School of Oriental and African Languages, under the direction of Ida Ward, the Head of the Department of African languages. His concentration was on the phonology, morphology syntax and semantics of Niger-Kordofanian languages. He learned as much as was possible in the year of Kimbundu, KiKongo, Yoruba, Ewe, Twi, Fante, Hausa, Mende, Gã and Wolof so that he could examine his Gullah data in view of his expertise in African languages.21 Turner was not surprised but elated at his findings, the result being a volume connecting 4,000 semantic items in Gullah to the phonology, morphology, syntax and semantics in approximately thirty African languages. Turner’s quest to link African people in the Western hemisphere to their African past was lifelong. He approached the process through lectures, courses, research, publications and the maintenance of relationships with
LORENZO DOW TURNER: BEYOND GULLAH STUDIES
persons of African ancestry in the United States, Africa and Brazil, as well as with persons of European ancestry with related interests. By 1940, four years after Turner’s year in London, his perspective on the centrality of the African experience in the Diaspora to the lives of persons of African ancestry internationally was being conceptualized in linguistic anthropological terms. Coinciding with World War II was the rise in interest of Brazil as a haven for intellectuals escaping the turbulence of the European continent. At the same time, a small social network of scholars in the United States and the Caribbean were examining the Black presence in their various countries and attempting to understand it in broadly similar terms, i.e., the search for African cultural origins and retentions in language, culture and family life. The large Afro-Brazilian presence in Northern Brazil became the focus of some. Turner was one of them. By 1940-1941, he was prepared to collect linguistic and cultural data in Northern Brazil, especially around Bahia, among the Brazilian Yoruba population, in a process similar to the one he utilized on the Gullah islands, on a grant from the Rosenwald Fund. Rather than focusing on the linguistic data, however, Turner collected cultural retentions – songs, folktales and data on religious syncretism. His Gullah corpus contained cultural data from which he extracted the linguistic information. In contrast, Turner’s intent in Brazil was to analyze the cultural retentions. His data collection progressed as planned. After a few months, on February 4, 1941, he wrote Melville Herskovits, declaring with enthusiasm that: “the field here is rich in African material and I am having no difficulty finding it.”22 The growing body of references on Afro-Brazilian culture which appeared within a few years before and after Turner’s study leave include, J. Raymundo, O Elemento Afro-Negro na lingua Portuguesa (Rio de Janeiro: Renascença Editora, 1933); J. Raymundo, O Negro Brasileiro (Rio de Janeiro: Record, 1936); Edison Carneiro, Negros Bantús: Notas de Ethnographia Religiosa e de Folclore (Rio de Janeiro: Editora Civilização, Brasileira, 1937); J. Ribeiro, O Elemento Negro: História-FolcloreLinguistica (Rio de Janeiro: Record, 1939); Nelson de Senna, Africanos no Brasil (Belo Horizonte, Brasil: Oficinas Gráficas Queiroz Breyner Limitada, 1940); and R. Méndonça, A influencia Africana no Portugués do Brasil, 3rd edn. (Porto: Livraria Figueirinhas, 1948). After Turner’s return to Nashville, the rigors of his position at Fisk University did not afford him the time or resources to compile a full range of cultural data collected in Brazil. Nonetheless, the development of the African retentions hypothesis is quite evident in his 1942 article, “Some Contacts of Brazilian Ex-Slaves with Nigeria, West Africa.” His 1957 article, “The Negro
in Brazil” reflects the same emphasis. Both highlight the degree to which Afro-Brazilians in Northern Brazil are aware of their Nigerian heritage and the ways in which that heritage is reflected in syncretized forms of music, dance, dress style and religion, as well as in the contacts they maintain with relatives in Nigeria. These articles foreshadow his cross-disciplinary work with an anthropological focus, which became a major thrust in his teaching and public lecturing after he joined the faculty of Roosevelt University in Chicago in 1946. His assignment there as Professor of English and Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in African Studies advanced this thrust.23 It is clear that the African retentions model espoused during the Harlem Renaissance was the greatest theoretical influence in Turner’s perspective. Both Turner and Melville Herskovits actualized that model in their research simultaneously and worked closely to reinforce each other through letters, on panels and committees for almost thirty years.24 According to Turner’s 1946 Grant proposal to the American Philosophical Society, his intellectual legacy and contribution were to be grammars, dictionaries, studies and analyses of retained semantic items from African languages in North American creoles, as well as collections of folklore and music.25 His research agenda, laid out in various annual reports and research proposals available at the Turner Collection, indicates that he planned to conduct field work in Africa, Brazil, Jamaica, Haiti, British and Dutch Guiana and Louisiana, in order to show the patterns of African linguistic retentions in the Western Hemisphere.26 His ambitious research plan was similar to that of Melville Herskovits. The two spent many years in the Chicago area, Turner at Roosevelt University and Herskovits at Northwestern University. Because the two encountered each other often at conferences and on committees, and corresponded regularly, they maintained a long-term mutually beneficial relationship.27 In the process, they cross-fertilized each other’s ideas. By the time of Turner’s death on February 10, 1972 at the age of 82,28 his plan was only partially realized. He had spent 1936–1937 at the University of London, where he studied African languages with Ida Ward. He had spent 1938–1939 as a Research Fellow in Linguistics at Yale University, where he had studied under Edward Sapir and learned Umbundu. He had collected data in Gullah territory (1932, 1933, 1934, 1935, 1939, 1940, 1942); in Louisiana (1935); Brazil (1940–1941) learned Brazilian Portuguese and Arabic; and spent a Fulbright Fellowship year in Nigeria and Sierra Leone (1951–1952). His plans to collect data in the Caribbean – except for Brazil – did not come to fruition, not for lack of talent, hard work and dedication, but rather because
LORENZO DOW TURNER: BEYOND GULLAH STUDIES
of the politics of the period, resulting in constraints on his time and limited financial resources.29 Richard Robbins, in his study of the contribution of Charles Johnson, aptly analyzes the context out of which Turner and his intellectual peers functioned: They had to do their work almost entirely within the Negro college structure or within various Negro social service agencies because they were not invited to take professorships in the mainstream system even though their talents and degrees obviously qualified them to be there. If they worked in the South . . . the problem of segregation and discrimination constantly impinged on them, whereas white social scientists could take the surrounding community and culture for granted. Often they had to work in isolation, even in the larger southern cities with flourishing [social science] departments on nearby campuses. The colleges that supported them in most cases were not comparable to white institutions in resources, salaries, teaching loads, and other characteristics critical to doing research. They did not in any sense succumb to these constrictions; they conducted their research, subject to peer reviews and countervailing hypotheses, from the same social science ethos as their white peers. That was a distinctive achievement.30 Beginning in Fall, 1946, Turner labored in the north at Roosevelt University, founded in 1945, liberal and integrated at its inception. However, because it was both new and small, in some respects the context was similar to that in the historically Black colleges, i.e. the salary was low and the workload high. Turner was enthusiastic about joining the faculty there since he was encouraged to pursue his intellectual interests and to establish and chair an African Studies Program. Furthermore, Turner viewed Roosevelt as a test case for democracy. In an article he prepared for Opportunity magazine in 1947, one year after he arrived, Turner asserted: There is no doubt that the program being carried out at Roosevelt College is the most encouraging, and the most practical demonstration of democracy we have yet had in the field of higher education. For centuries we have been quite distinguished for our speeches on democracy in education, but not for dong anything about it. We cannot at present envisage the effect of this trend upon our total life, but my guess is that its influence for good will be tremendous.31 Turner’s life can be viewed in four stages: (1) his birth in Elizabeth City, North Carolina in 1890 to his Master’s Degree in English from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts in 1917; (2) his tenure at Howard University in Washington, D.C. as Professor and Head of the Department
of English from 1917 to 1928, including the Ph.D. in English from the University of Chicago in 1926; (3) his tenure as Professor and Head of the Department of English at Fisk University in Nashville, Tennessee from 1929 to 1946, including his role in the founding of the first African Studies Program in an American university in 1943; and (4) his tenure at Roosevelt College in Chicago as Professor of English and Lecturer in the InterDepartmental Program in African Studies from 1946 to 1970. By the end of Turner’s life, he had written five books, twelve articles, innumerable book reviews and prepared a number of other manuscripts. The manuscripts remain unpublished to date. What is Turner’s contribution beyond his work on Gullah? Between 1950 and 1970, Turner turned his attention to Africa. His contribution is multi-fold: (1) the writing of two books on Sierra Leone Krio for use in the teaching of Peace Corps volunteers; (2) teaching courses on Krio and African culture at Roosevelt College and elsewhere and lecturing widely on African linguistic retentions and African culture; (3) providing African language data for American dictionaries; (4) collecting vast amounts of Yoruba and Sierra Leone Krio data and folklore, presently in unpublished form; (5) and supporting and encouraging the development of African Studies and African students in the United States, with some of the students serving as his informants, (6) and serving as a contact for African dignitaries traveling in the United States.
1. Writing of two books on Sierra Leone Krio During Turner’s Roosevelt College Years (1946–1970), he maintained a punishing schedule. Teaching a variety of courses, among them Chaucer and American Literature, linguistics, and African Culture, he also coordinated the Program in African Studies. Roosevelt was pleased when, in 1962, it received the contract to serve as the college to train Peace Corps volunteers to Sierra Leone, where Krio is spoken by sixteen ethnic groups. The contract for $54,597 made it possible for Turner to publish two Krio texts. The first is An Anthology of Krio Folklore and Literature: With Notes and Inter-linear Translations in English (1963). Two years later, Turner wrote Krio Texts: With Grammatical Notes and Translation in English (1965). Krio Texts is developed in four chapters: “A History of Krio People in Sierra Leone”; “The Sounds of Krio”; “Grammatical Notes (including use of the major parts of speech)”; and “Krio Texts,” comprised of greetings, numerals, familiar conversations and proverbs. The final portion of the text provides English translations. Turner prepared tape recordings featuring native speakers for Chapters II, III and IV, with additional classroom drills.
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Turner gives special acknowledgement to William C. Okrafosmart of Freetown, Sierra Leone for assistance in the preparation of Krio Texts.32 Preparation of Krio data was especially relevant, not only for the Peace Corps, but also because of the historic relationship between Sierra Leone and the Western Hemisphere. Krio speakers are, for the most part, descendants of former enslaved Africans from the West Indies and the United States and liberated Africans from sixty ethnic groups in Africa who escaped the slave trade. They settled on the coast of Sierra Leone near the end of the eighteenth century. Krio was of special interest to Turner as its history and structure make it a “sister creole” to Gullah. Turner declared: “The English of the West Indies and the American ex-slaves of the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries serves to form the base to which have been added important features of many differing African languages.”33 Turner’s direct exposure to Krio was the result of his conducting research in and around Freetown, Sierra Leone during his Fulbright year in Africa, from January 1951–January, 1952. He continued to study it through informants who were native speakers living in Chicago. The companion piece to Turner’s volumes was to be a Krio grammar by Jack Berry from the School of Oriental and African Studies at the University of London. That project was never completed. On May, 10, 1963, Turner received a letter from Julia A. Petrov, a Research Assistant for the Language Research Section of the Division of College and University Assistance at the Department of Heath, Education and Welfare Office of Education in Washington, D.C. The purpose was to inform Turner that his Contract No. 0E-3-14-016, “providing for composition and duplication of The Anthology of Krio Folklore and Literature . . . is terminating on May 15, 1963.” She also informed him that Jack Berry’s Contract No. SAE-8906 to prepare Krio Grammar had already terminated on December 30, 1962.34 Both of Turner’s Krio publications are valuable for non-Krio speakers and would have no doubt become important reference sources had they been in wider circulation. However, the Peace Corps only provided funding for an initial printing; the available copies were soon exhausted. Both volumes remain out of print.
2. Teaching of courses on Krio and African culture at Roosevelt College and elsewhere and lecturing widely on African linguistic and cultural retentions According to a May 27, 1963 letter from Lorenzo Turner to his Dean, Otto Wirth, Turner taught a course in Krio in Fall, 1962 and again in Spring,
1963. The purpose of Turner’s letter was to request reimbursement for $99.25 he had spent on informants and for paying a Miss Julia Randolph for mimeographing texts for the Krio course.35 On other occasions, he taught Krio for Peace Corps volunteers at other universities, or taught them the structure of creole languages. One such occasion was the summer of 1963 at the University of Ohio, Athens. Carl Denbow, Director of the Peace Corps Training Program at the Ohio University Department of Education, wrote Turner on May 17, 1963. His request was that Turner spend June 28 and 29 instructing the two professors responsible for English as a second language. Denbow wanted the professors to be oriented before the Peace Corps volunteers arrived. Turner was to focus on “some of the main structural differences between English and pidgin,” utilize the language laboratory to “make tapes” and to lend the professors some of his. Volunteers being prepared for service in Cameroon were to arrive in early July. The actual instruction in Cameroonian pidgin was to be conducted by Reverend G.D. Schneider, his wife and a Cameroonian named Salamon Ndikvu.36 In a subsequent letter of June 11, 1963, Carl Denbow requested that Turner arrive on July 5 and remain until July 7. During that time he would work with both the professors and the Peace Corps volunteers.37 On October 19, 1962, Turner traveled by train to Park College in Parkville, Missouri at the request of Professor Jerzy Hauptman, Chair of the Department of Political Science. He was scheduled for two lectures, the 10:00 a.m. assembly session on “Types of African Music,” featuring recordings from Nigeria and Sierra Leone, and the 7:00 p.m. one on “The Folklore and Language of the Krio People of Sierra Leone,” illustrated with examples of folklore.38 From June 10 to June 21, 1963, Turner conducted a workshop at the University of Kansas City entitled, “The Political and Cultural Emergence of Africa.” Apparently, Turner has taught a workshop there before. In a March 19, 1963 letter to Dr. Hugh Speer, Dean of the School of Education, Turner stated: “The course will be basically different from the earlier one.” The students were enrolled in degree programs in the School of Education.39 Turner was a regular instructor for the Adult Education Program of the Chicago Central YMCA. According to correspondences from Marian Koenigseden, Director of Informal Adult Education, in both Spring and Fall, 1963, he taught The Cultures of New Africa.40 Sometimes Turner lectured in the courses of colleagues at Roosevelt University. A July 23, 1964 letter from Carolyn Neal on Roosevelt University letterhead stated:
LORENZO DOW TURNER: BEYOND GULLAH STUDIES
Please remember me and my classes in reading and language arts on next Wednesday, the 29th at 11:30 a.m. We are looking forward to hearing you on the International Phonetic Alphabet and some of you knowledge . . . of Africa and the language, its structure and its folklore. . . . Thank you very much. . . . Class meets in 336.41 As a member of the “talented tenth,” Turner felt compelled to share his knowledge as widely as possible. According to his widow, Lois Turner Williams, he also struggled mightily to supplement his modest faculty salary and provide the family with a more adequate income. In the multiple quests, he taught evening courses at the Chicago Central YMCA semester after semester, and lectured widely to civic, religious and cultural groups, often utilizing recordings from the Gullah islands, Brazil and Africa. It required quite an effort to mount the usual Turner lecture since he inevitably did not travel light. Among the items necessary to illustrate his lectures were a large tape recorder, recordings, one or more projectors, reel to reel tapes, slides and, in many cases, African artifacts, among them jewelry, drums and masks. He utilized public transportation. In the later years, Lois Turner Williams traveled with him to local engagements and assisted with the projection of slides and the playing of music.42 Turner was an engaging lecturer, communicating with audiences of any age. Just as he lectured at universities, he lectured for high schools and junior high schools. Sometimes Turner’s public school engagements took him to the suburbs of Chicago. On February 15, 1963, Turner visited the Flossmoor Public Schools, in Flossmoor, Illinois. According to the February 13, 1963 letter from Mardell A. Parker, the Assistant Superintendent of the Flossmoor School District, a Mr. Abraham Russell has spoken with Turner when he appeared on a program at the Chicago History Museum early in 1963. At that time, Russell and Turner had made “tentative arrangements” for a lecture to the “junior high school students during their study of the African nations.” Transportation to and from Turner’s home was to be provided.43 A February 22, 1963 letter from Parker to Turner indicates that Turner did appear of Friday, February 15 and lectured to seventh graders. As was typical of feedback on Turner’s presentations, the report was glowing: Your talk to our seventh grade students was one of the most stimulating things that has happened to us in many months. . . . In visiting classes I have found an almost daily reference to some bit of information that you brought up in your talk and demonstration. I have heard many favorable comments from our students, our teachers, and people who live in the community who read the newspaper account of your presentation.
As was most often the case, the financial compensation was quite small. “We are enclosing a check for $25.00 as a small token of our appreciation for sharing your time and talents with us.”44 Though Turner’s usual lectures focused on Gullah, Krio, music, folklore, artifacts and contemporary African politics, he continued to lecture on traditional topics related to English when called upon to do so. On April 11, 1963, Turner received a letter from Wayne C. Shiffer, Principal of the Westmore School in Lombard, Illinois, confirming Turner’s April 25, 1963 appearance there. He was asked to speak on “Etymology” to the “Academically Talented Children.”45 In a return letter from Turner to Shiffer on April 15, 1963, Turner stated that his preferred topic was, “Some Important but Frequently Overlooked Facts about English Grammar.” The talk was scheduled for 4:15 p.m.46 While this article focuses on examples from Turner’s later years at Roosevelt University, his public service activities spanned his entire academic career. Understandably, the demands increased sharply, after each peak in his career, especially after the founding of African Studies at Fisk University (1943), after the publication of Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (1949), and after the Fulbright year in Nigeria and Sierra Leone (1951–1952). Two years after the founding of African Studies, Turner was thoroughly overbooked. In an April 9, 1945 letter to Daniel Wilson, during Turner’s final year at Fisk University, he summarized the demands facing him. Daniel Wilson was at that time the Secretary of the American Dialect Society. He had requested a copy of Turner’s paper in preparation. The paper became “Notes on the Sounds and Vocabulary of Gullah.” Turner responded to Wilson: . . . If you will give me the date of your deadline, I shall be grateful. It so happens that this year I find that I am doing the work of three able-bodied men. For example, I am serving as chairman of two departments; am a member of eight active committees (sitting in meetings on an average of ten hours a week); carrying a teaching load of fourteen hours (including a composition course in which there are thirty-seven students, each writing two themes a week – I have no theme reader); am responsible for the selection of six lecturers (specialists) for three seminars on Africa and the Caribbean to be held on April 26, 27, and 28 during our Festival of Music and Art; am supervising the preparation of two A. M. theses; am trying to get my manuscript on Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect into Bernard Bloch’s hands by the first week in May; am preparing four lectures to be given at one of the colleges here in Nashville early in May; and am preparing for publication a thirty-page bulletin of our Curriculum in African Studies which must be off the press by April 26. Several weeks
LORENZO DOW TURNER: BEYOND GULLAH STUDIES
ago I accepted an invitation from Dr. E.E. Lowinsky to give a lecture at Black Mountain College, North Carolina, early in May; but as I look over my schedule, I am almost certain that it will be humanly impossible for me to leave Nashville at that time. I can’t recall the night when I got more than four hours’ sleep. My wife swears she will leave me if I don’t spend more time at home with her and the baby. You can see my predicament. . . . The weather is beautiful now, but, like you, I am too busy to enjoy it. Cordially yours, Lorenzo D. Turner In the same letter, Turner indicated that Africanisms was complete but that he had not found someone to complete the typing of the manuscript. His major work would have to wait four more years.47
3. Providing African language data for American dictionaries Despite the rigors in his life, Turner was no doubt invigorated by the challenges he faced. He came of age during the Harlem Renaissance and ripened into his golden years during the United States Civil Rights and Black Power Movements and the emergence from colonialism of the new nations of the world of color in Africa, Asia, the Caribbean and Latin America. One consequence of the development of the Civil Rights/Black Power Movements and the emergence of the independent nations in Africa was the need for new data in dictionaries and encyclopedias. Turner was prepared. In the 1960s, he completed etymologies for SRA and World Book Encyclopedia. On February 19, 1964, Christopher Hoolihan, the Special Vocabularies Editor of the World Publishing Company, contacted Turner requesting that he serve as “consultant for us in African languages” and for “some English words of African origin” for the Webster’s New World Dictionary.48 Turner had been recommended by Mitford Mathews, who was the Americanist Specialist at World Publishing Company at the time. Turner responded on February 24, 1964, stating: “I shall be happy to render whatever assistance I can. . . . Among all the college editions of available dictionaries, Webster’s New World is my favorite. I think it is superior to the others in most respects.”49 As Turner labored over the definitions and etymologies, he often found himself utilizing private funds to pay informants. Estimating that he was able to complete approximately six etymologies per hour, he found the project a most time consuming one.50 On July 15, 1964, after Turner submitted the etymologies, Hoolihan sent a return reply, stating:
Thank you very much for your letter of July 10 and for the set of African language entries. We are pleased with your work, as of course we knew we would be. And we appreciated your inclusion of information on possible biographical entries. We also appreciated your remarks on the current uncertainty regarding the etymology of most African words. Your observations here will be a guide to us in handling of such entries.51
4. Collecting vast amounts of Yoruba and Sierra Leone Krio data and folklore (presently in unpublished form) Turner had hoped to gain funds for a study trip in Africa immediately after his 1936-37 year at the University of London. Since America was deep in the Depression, Turner was unable to access funds for field research in Africa at that time. Consequently, he accepted a fellowship at Yale University. His opportunity to collect field data in Africa was subsequently postponed for fourteen years, until January 21, 1951, when as a result of a Fulbright Fellowship, he was assigned to serve as a Visiting Professor of English at the University College, Ibadan, Nigeria, where he remained until January 5, 1952. According to Turner’s circa 1955 Grant Proposal to the African American Institute for $300.00 to prepare his material for publication, while in Nigeria, he recorded in Yoruba: Fifteen hundred stories, seven thousand proverbs, three thousand songs, several hundred riddles, and other folk materials, practically none of which has ever before been recorded. Since that time I have selected for publication and translated into English with extensive annotations what I consider the best of these materials. My selections include three hundred stories (interspersed with interesting African melodies), a thousand proverbs, a few hundred riddles, and some fascinating philosophical pieces. These materials when published will throw some light on several aspects of native West African culture and its influence on New World cultures at a time when widespread and unprecedented interest is being manifested both in sub-Saharan Africa and in the whole problem of the relations between the white and darker peoples of the world . . .52 In a document entitled “Current Research Activities of Lorenzo D. Turner,” perhaps prepared for an Annual Report at Roosevelt College, circa 1957, Turner indicated that he had completed the translation of two volumes of folk tales, which he had recorded in both Nigeria and Sierra Leone. He planned to write extensive annotations to accompany the texts. His target date for completion was Fall, 1958. Turner stated further, “I have made considerable progress on the descriptive grammar of Sierra Leone Krio and expect
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to complete it in early 1959.”53 The grammar did not reach the point of publication. In the Turner Collection in manuscript form are (1) grammatical notes on the Temne and Mende languages of Sierra Leone; (2) notes on Freetown Creole of Sierra Leone; (3) a Yoruba language course; (4) Yoruba tales in translation; (5) Yoruba songs and stories; (6) assorted African folktales; (7) Cameroon Creole proverbs, riddles and stories; (8) a manuscript entitled Folktales from Africa; and (9) a manuscript entitled Chronicles of Africa: Ancient, Medieval and Modern. Cumulatively these nine manuscripts translated from Turner’s field tapes represent thousands of hours of meticulous research. Had they been published when Turner offered them to publishers, they would have become some of the standard resources on the oral arts of Africa. Why are they not in print? Turner did seek publishers for a number of them. Richard Dorson at Indiana University expressed interest in the Yoruba folktales for the Folktales of the World Series. Subsequently Dorson published material of his own.54 Oxford University Press considered Folktales from Africa,55 but on January 11, 1971, Turner received a letter from John D. Wright, the Editor of the College Department stating: I have recently examined your manuscript, Folktales of Africa, and found it quite interesting. I must tell you, however, that I cannot make an offer to publish. The reason for this regrettable decision has nothing to do with the quality or suitability of your work but rather with an internal problem here. Since receiving your manuscript I have had word from our London office that they will publish paperback editions of Whiteley, Traditional African Prose, which you may be familiar with. The first volume (Oral Texts) does contain a great many folktales and I feel that this will be sufficient for our list at the present time . . .56 By the late 1960s, time was running out. Turner developed an ulcer that required several weeks of hospitalization and six weeks away from his courses in Summer, 1964. During those weeks, Lois Turner Williams, a public school teacher with degrees in English and further study in art, taught his classes. Turner retired from Roosevelt in May, 1970 and experienced a stroke that same year. After the stroke, he continued to decline. Despite his health condition, his desire to work was pronounced. Lois Turner Williams continued to answer his correspondences and seek publishers for his work.57
5. Supporting and encouraging the development of African studies and African students in the United States (some of whom who served as his informants) Fisk University developed the first program in African Studies in an American university in 1943. The Distinction of the first African Studies Program to offer degrees at the bachelor’s and master’s levels goes to Howard University under the direction of Mark Hanna Watkins in 1954. The first African Studies program in a Euro-American University was founded in 1948, at Northwestern University, under the direction of Melville Herskovits. Turner and his colleagues, foreseeing the end of colonialism, looked forward to the collaboration between Africans and African Americans in the process of building a stronger, freer Africa. In their discussion of the objectives of African Studies at Fisk, they stated: There is some basis for belief that in the Western Sudan especially, perhaps also in Nyasaland, and other places . . . the native people will have a larger share in the development of their country and in the shaping of their own destinies. It is not a disparagement of their inherent abilities nor their present accomplishments to say that Africans will need assistance in these tasks. The American Negroes, related as they are genealogically and historically to the Africans, would appear to be distinctively adapted for work in this sphere. Their claim for the privilege and opportunity for the undertaking must be supported by adequate preparation. The human urge for such alliance must be buttressed with the acquaintance, forbearance, and objectivity which result from long and careful study. Action that is based on concrete data and rational attitudes will have greater efficacy than that which is motivated by romantic impulses alone, however noble may be the intentions that are bound up with the latter.58 On August 29, 1944, President Jones requested that Turner serve as Director of African Studies. Turner did so while he continued to teach English and literature courses. His years as Director were his final two years at Fisk University (1944–1946).59 On March 25, 1946, Turner received an appointment letter from President Edward J. Sparling of Roosevelt University in Chicago, offering him “$3,500,00 in 12 installments,” to begin on September 1, 1946. When Turner departed to join the faculty of Roosevelt University, he was already experienced in the creation of an African Studies Program. For the remainder of his academic career until his retirement in 1970, his assignment was as Professor of English and Director of the Interdisciplinary Program in African Studies at Roosevelt University.
LORENZO DOW TURNER: BEYOND GULLAH STUDIES
As Turner continued to develop in African Studies, he simultaneously maintained expertise in the traditional subject matter in which he had completed courses. Among the courses Turner taught at Roosevelt over time were: Culture Studies (a Three Course Sequence) Phonetics A series of English Literature courses, among them Chaucer and Shakespeare History of the English Language Early English Literature American Literature 1608–1860 American Literature 1860–1900 American Literature Since 1890 African Linguistics – Swahili African Linguistics – Yoruba Krio The Negro in American Literature The Novel I and II Poetry 19th Century Poetry Journalism The Political and Cultural Emergence of Sub-Saharan Africa.60 Although teaching and research occupied much of Turner’s time, outside of class he maintained relations with members of the African community. Over time, he advocated for a number of African students, some of whom possessed the skills to serve as informants for his linguistic research. One of them was Olatunde Cole Jeremy Adekoya, whom Turner met in Ibaden, Nigeria in 1951. At that time Adekoya was employed in a bank. Turner suggested that he relocate to United States to continue his studies and then subsequently was instrumental in securing a four-year scholarship for Adekoya at Roosevelt University. When Adekoya arrived in the United States, he resided with the Turners for more than two years on the upper floor of their Victorian house on Ellis Avenue, which Lorenzo Turner had purchased on the assumption that it could generate rental income to supplement his limited salary.61 Adekoya’s story was one of both triumph and tragedy. He received a Bachelor’s Degree with an A average from Roosevelt College on a four year scholarship. In return, he served as Turner’s informant for Yoruba. After graduation, he attended the University of Illinois and gained a Master’s degree in City Planning.62
Eventually, Adekoya received a Ph.D. in Urban Planning from the University of Chicago.63 According to Lois Turner Williams, after Adekoya returned to Nigeria as the City Planner for West Nigeria, he was killed in a traffic accident in a taxicab while delivering some plans for an important project to the appropriate government office.64 He was Turner’s most prized informant, but not the only student Turner assisted. On May 18, 1963, Turner prepared a letter of recommendation for a Dr. Grace Alele, who was applying for a university professorship. Turner stated: “Dr. Alele has been assisting me for some time with some work I have been doing in the Yoruba language, and I have found her most sufficient. As you know, she recently received her Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in Education.” Turner’s letter also indicated that Alele attended Roosevelt in the 1950s.65 Despite the demands on his time, Turner continued to manifest a humanitarian spirit by seeking funds for the support of African students from his friends and associates who were also humanitarians. On one occasion, he raised $300.00 for Josephine Tucker, a young woman from Sierra Leone who was studying at Nazareth College in Michigan. Her sister, Patricia Tucker-Anthony, had “been of great assistance” as Turner’s informant for Krio language and folklore. She returned to Sierra Leone as the translator/ interpreter for the Prime Minister of Sierra Leone, leaving her younger sister in college in Michigan. Their mother died, apparently resulting in hardship for Josephine Tucker.66 Of the $300.00, $100.00 was a gift from the Turners and several of their friends, mostly physicians and other medical professionals. The remaining $200.00 was a loan, $100.00 of which Turner and his wife, Lois, contributed. Patricia Tucker-Anthony wrote Turner eventually, indicating that she was having difficulty amassing the funds to repay the loan.67 By all accounts, Turner was a focused and highly motivated man with a charming personality. He was much in demand for social occasions. As a result, he attempted to eke out some time for his research and paper grading by working into the early morning hours. His usual routine was to work until 1:00 or 2:00 a.m., sleep until approximately 6:00 a.m., and begin his punishing schedule again.68
6. Serving us a contact for African dignitories traveling in the United States and as an “ambassador” across cultures Because of Turner’s role as Director of the program in African Studies at Roosevelt University from 1946–1972, and because he was well known as a lecturer on issues of African culture, he was frequently contacted to meet
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dignitaries visiting Chicago. His role expanded as the nations of Africa began to rise from colonialism. One of the organizations that contacted Turner frequently was the American Society of African Culture. On May 21, 1962, John A. Davis, Executive Director, wrote Turner to request that he meet with Dr. Saburi O. Biobaku, the Pro-Vice Chancellor of the University of Ife. Dr. Biobaku was on a Ford Foundation grant, wishing to observe American universities in the hope that he and others could shape the new University of Ife to “combine the best of the American state university system and the British liberal arts tradition.”69 A few months later, on February 18, 1963, Cheryl S. Cummer, a Program Assistant for the Institute of International Education, contacted Turner. On this occasion Bernard Dadie, the poet from Ivory Coast, was scheduled to be in Chicago from February 18–23, under the auspices of UNESCO. Ms. Cummer stated: “I have been informed by Mr. Dadie’s New York sponsor that he would like the opportunity to meet with you.”70 It is not clear whether Turner’s schedule permitted the meeting with Dadie. Sometimes the dignitary was a person with an international profile. On May 22, 1963, R. E. Carlson, the Director of Special Programs of the Institute for International Education, wrote Turner to request that he meet with Chinua Achebe, the Nigerian novelist, who had become prominent as a result of Things Fall Apart. Achebe was touring the Midwest from June 9 to June 22 under the auspices of UNESCO, and, according to Carlson, had requested to meet with Turner. Turner responded on May 27, 1963, indicating that he would be at the University of Kansas City and Ohio University for five weeks beginning on June 8. However, having received Carlson’s letter, Turner arranged for Frank Untermeyer, an Africanist in the Political Science Department, and Robert C. Cosbey, an English professor, both at Roosevelt University, to host Achebe. Turner stated: I am very sorry that because of previous commitments I cannot be in the city to greet Mr. Achebe. He was a student at University College, Ibaden (now the University of Ibaden), during the year that I was a lecturer there in the Department of English. In my course at Roosevelt University on African Folklore and Literature, I always devote considerable time to his writings.71 On some occasions, the dignitary was the president of a newly independent country. Turner looked forward to the end of colonialism and took every opportunity to meet the new leaders when they traveled to Chicago. When President Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana toured Chicago in the summer of 1958, Roosevelt University hosted a reception for him at the request of Chicago Mayor Richard Daly. At the July 31 event there were thirty
persons from Roosevelt University, the University of Chicago and Northwestern University. Among those present were Lorenzo Turner and Melville Herskovits. Turner and Herskovits both gave Nkrumah their best-known books, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (1949) and The Myth of the Negro Past (1941), respectively.72 Now and again the visiting scholar was from a geographic region other than Africa. On May 22, 1963, Cheryl S. Cummer contacted Turner again, this time to meet with Bongryong Hong, a Lecturer of American and English Prose Fiction at Union Christian College in Seoul, Korea. Professor Hong was “visiting colleges and communities in order to meet professors of American literature, editors of literary magazines, and when possible, authors.”73 If Turner was available, he graciously dedicated a few hours to Professer Hong understanding that “to whom much is given, much is also required.” Turner maintained positive relations across cultures throughout his career. At a time when Black/Jewish relations did not bear the strain of the 21st century, groups in the Jewish community often called upon him to share his research. On several occasions he published articles in the Chicago Jewish Forum. In the final decade of his academic career, he was one of the featured presenters for the B’nai Torah Temple Forum of Highland Park, Illinois. From November 21, 1958 to February 27, 1959, there were eight lectures, one of them Turner’s presentation on “Africa in Ferment: Background and Foreground.” According to the series brochure, Turner’s presentation was to be “Illustrated with [an] Unusual Documentary Film and Original Recordings Made in Africa.”74 Roosevelt College took pride in having Turner on its faculty. On some occasions, he was asked to represent the College as an “ambassador” for President Edward J. Sparling. One such occasion was the February 8, 1947 appearance of Langston Hughes at the Du Sable High School, where Hughes read poetry. Hughes appearance was sponsored by the alumni groups of Johnson C. Smith University and Fisk University.75
7. Recent achievements related to Gullah The publication of Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (1949) is a singular achievement. It is the first and still most important book on African retentions in speech varieties of the United States. It has been reissued periodically for the last fifty years, first by the University of Chicago Press in 1949; then by Arno Press in 1969; and third by The University of Michigan Press in 1974. Since it is a scholarly book, it has not been a best seller, but it has consistently maintained a committed following. Further, it is the foundation for subsequent thinking about African retentions in American culture, has
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created the Gullah Studies specialty in American linguistics, and resulted in a number of dissertations, articles and other projects on Gullah and its relation to Caribbean creoles and to the African American Vernacular English. In recent years, at least six scholarly based books on Gullah and Gullah people have appeared. There are hundreds of published articles and thousands of web sites that either critique or reference the book. In 1995, the Wycliffe Bible Translators collaborated with a dozen or more native speakers of Gullah on the Sea Island Literacy and Translation Team to produce De Good Nyews Bout Jedus Christ Wa Luke Write: The Gospel According to Luke. It is a collector’s item among church groups, including those in Northern cities with large numbers of members from South Carolina. Among the movies and documentaries which feature Gullah are The Story of English Series, Black on White (1986), produced for Public Television, which traces the development of the Afro-European Creole that became Gullah, the Caribbean Creoles and the African American Vernacular English; Family Across the Sea (1990), also produced for Public Television, which focuses on the parallels between Gullah Creole and Sierra Leone cultural lifestyles. The most recent documentary, The Language You Cry In (1998), from California Newsreel, developed by Joseph Opala, an anthropologist and Cynthia Schmidt, an ethno-musicologist, is especially meaningful as a follow-up to Turner’s work in that it documents the present day retention of the Mende funeral chant sung to Lorenzo Turner by Amelia Daley in 1932; and the subsequent reuniting in the 1990s of Daley’s African American descendants who have retained the song with the Sierra Leone family which has done the same. In the past five years, several conferences have focused on Gullah. “Issues in the African Diaspora: Connections and Continuity in the Americas” was the Summer Symposium of June 18–20, 1998 at the University of San Francisco. Organized by Anita DeFrantz and sponsored by the School of Education Department of International Multicultural Education, it featured John Rickford, Wade Nobles, Joseph Opala, Asa Hilliard and several other scholars. On February 17, 1999 National Geographic sponsored a conference to profile the documentary, “The Language You Cry In.” Entitled, “Crossing the Sea on a Song: A Gullah Family Finds Its Roots in Sierra Leone,” it featured Joseph Opala, Cynthia Schmidt, Mary Moran (daughter of Amelia Dawley who sang a Sierra Leone Song to Lorenzo Turner in 1932), and her son, Wilson Moran. On November 3, 2002 Paul Fallon organized a conference hosted by Howard University. Its focus was the 50th Anniversary of Gullah and Lorenzo Dow Turner’s Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect. Among the featured presenters were John Rickford, Margaret Wade-Lewis, Salikoko Mufwene and John Singler.
8. Conclusion History is built in layers and over time, with the history of any discipline being revealed in part through the dynamic of the lives of those who have given it shape. Lorenzo Dow Turner, along with Leonard Bloomfield, Eugene Nida, Hans Kurath, Mark Hanna Watkins and others, is one of the founding fathers of linguistics in America. Standing astride the 19th and 20th centuries, between the World Wars and the beginning of Civil Rights and the end of colonialism, he took seriously those “quaint” farm and fisher folk in the Sea Islands and proved to the world that their speech was more than “broken English.” Turner demonstrated conclusively that though English is the lexifer, Niger Kordofanian languages of Africa are a major phonological, lexical, syntactic and morphological element. Today the derision of Gullah is long past, replaced with a respect and a quest to analyze it as a surviving example of creolized Afro-European language in the Western hemisphere. One cannot mention Gullah Studies without referring to the father, Lorenzo Dow Turner. To create discourse on the life of a scholar is to move one step closer to a fuller understanding of his or her contribution. Turner was a gifted and dedicated scholar who contributed much to advance understanding of creole languages, even before clear definitions of them had been developed. He was a pioneer working alone, a first, understanding the necessity of the work to which he dedicated himself. He continued to persevere, even against the tide of criticism, returning again and again to the Sea Islands for a decade between 1932 and 1942, until his analysis was complete. Turner’s contribution beyond Gullah lies in the recorded texts he prepared, both audio and written, which have made possible the continued study of Gullah and other creole languages and African syncretic cultural forms. Since there were no American universities offering intensive study in African languages at the time, in order to properly analyze his Gullah Creole data, Turner was compelled to leave his faculty position at Fisk University and commit to studying for a year at the University of London. There he learned African languages. The American thrust toward African Studies did not begin until after World War II. Turner was ahead of his times. Though Turner’s Ph.D. was in English, he was well grounded in Western languages, particularly Latin, Greek and German, which he gained from both high school and college. He also studied French, Italian and Arabic. His further study for three summers at the Linguistic Institutes in phonetics and dialectology, as well as his year of study of the Niger Kordofanian languages of Africa with Ida Ward at the University of London, prepared him for his role as a practicing linguist.
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Beyond that, in the process of gaining competence in West African languages, Turner demonstrated not only respect for African languages, but for African culture as well. In subsequent years, this respect and quest for knowledge propelled him deeper into the study of African languages and culture. His fieldwork, publishing, lecturing and teaching in African Studies and for the Peace Corps training program resulted in his becoming an early proponent of African and inter-disciplinary studies. Besides Turner’s publications on Gullah, Krio and diasporic African culture, are numerous book reviews on Black literature and related topics. He also was the first scholar to explicate numerous African terms for American dictionaries. Added to his contribution to linguistics, African Studies and university teaching was his social role as representative for Roosevelt University, advocate for African students, volunteer lecturer, and role model for those who came after and walked in his shadow. He interacted effectively across boundaries of race, building bridges wherever he went. Turner sacrificed his time, talent and influence to accomplish his goals. In the process, he reserved little time for leisure, though he had a keen eye for politics, the arts and sports. Among his favorite personalities were Ralph Bunche, Etta Moten, Josephine Baker, Lena Horne, Joe Louis, Winston Churchill and Queen Elizabeth. During his study year in London in 1936– 1937, he and Geneva Townes Turner attended some of the inaugural events for the British Queen. Among his papers is the program for the inaugural events for 1937. Just as he was inspired by the rising nations of Africa, he was likewise inspired by the Civil Rights Movement in the United States, realizing that the changes it promised were long overdue and would bring greater opportunities for Africa Americans attempting to break through the ceiling of segregation and institutionalized discrimination. Among the form letters Turner retained is a 1962 letter from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., soliciting funds for the work of the Southern Christian Leadership Conference. Turner surely did not maintain his punishing schedule for half a century only for himself. Rather, a reading of the record of his speaking engagements and other public service and humanitarian activities easily leads to the conclusion that Turner was a civic-minded scholar who took seriously his role in improving the status of persons of African ancestry and advancing an understanding of the contributions of African people in the western hemisphere and throughout the Diaspora. He is one of a cohort of men and women of African ancestry of similar conviction and dedication, some of whom are mentioned in this article.
Turner’s contribution lies in the model of his life as teacher, scholar and humanitarian. Not only that, it lies in the inspiration he brought to others to pursue the study and analysis of African languages and creole languages, as well as other forms of African diasporic culture, using paradigms not available during his lifetime. The new edition of Africanisms, from the University of South Carolina Press, with an introduction by Katherine Wyly Mille and Michael Montgomery (2001), is a fitting tribute to his memory and his legacy. It attests to Turner’s value as a researcher and pioneer.76 The first full-length biography on his life and work is currently in preparation by this researcher. It should make possible further analyses of his work, taking into account the nuances of his life well spent dedicated to the advancement American linguistics and of the advancement of knowledge and a canon on African diasporan culture.77
Acknowledgements This article is made possible largely as a result of my access to primary research data gathered from the Turner Collection at the Melville Jean Herskovits Library at Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois during June, 1986, August, 1989, June, 2000; materials collected from the Manuscript Division of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center at Howard University, Washington, D.C., during June, 2002; materials from the Thomas Elsa Jones Collection of the Fisk University Archives, Fisk University, Nashville, Tennessee; and interviews with Turner’s widow, Lois Turner Williams. The assistance of Hans Panofsky in 1986 and David Easterbrook in 1989 and 2000, as well as the staff of the Herskovits Library; the assistance of Joellen ElBashir of the Moorland-Spingarn Research Center; and the assistance of Leonard Muse of the Howard University Archives, as well as the staff of the libraries at Howard University; and the assistance of Beth Howse of Special Collections of the Fisk University Library has been invaluable. The research was funded by a State University of New York at New Paltz Grants for Research and Creative Projects, for which I am truly appreciative.
Notes 1 Letter from Hans Kurath to Lorenzo Dow Turner, December 11, 1930. Turner Collection. Box 2, Folder 7. 2 Letter from Turner to Hans Kurath, December 24, 1930. Turner Collection. Box 2, Folder 7.
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3 See “Colorful Dialect Is Saved from Oblivion: Young Couple in Providence Has Recorded
Picturesque Tongue of Islanders off South Carolina Coast,” The Evening Bulletin, Providence, Rhode Island, Monday, August 13, 1934. 4 Letter from Donald Goodchild to Turner, March 9, 1932; and Letter from Donald Goodchild to Turner, March 15, 1932. Turner Collection. Box 2, Folder 7. Turner March 9 letter confirmed an earlier telegram that the Committee on Fellowships had “voted to approve your application for a grant of $1,000.00 in aid of research.” Turner Collection. Box 2, Folder 7. It was the first of many grants and the beginning of a new era in linguistic history. 5 See “Fisk Professor Gets Grant to Study,” The Afro-American, March 19, 1932; “English Head to Study Gullah Negro Dialect,” The New York Amsterdam News, Wednesday, March 30, 1932; and “Teacher to Study Dialect of Gullahs,” The Washington Times, Tuesday, March 22, 1932. 6 See Turner’s Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan, 1973), Appendix I, 291–292, and letter from Turner to Melville Herskovits, October 4, 1942. Turner Collection. Box 4, Folder 2. 7 Geneva Calcier Townes Turner, like Lorenzo Dow Turner, was a Cum Laude graduate of the Howard University class of 1914, with a major in English. See Howard University Yearbook for 1914, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University. Although she studied phonetics in order to collaborate with Turner in the data collection on the Gullah islands during the summer of 1933, it is not clear whether or not she participated in the data collection during other summers. As a follow-up to her study of phonetics, when she attended the Linguistic Institute at Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, from June 18 to September 8, 1934, she participated in the playing of recordings and, with Lorenzo Dow Turner, reported on the progress of the data collection. See, “Colorful Dialect Is Saved from Oblivion: Young Couple in Providence Has Recorded Picturesque Tongue of Islanders off South Carolina Coast,” The Evening Bulletin, Providence, Rhode Island, Monday, August 13, 1934. In a letter from Turner to Dr. Thomas E. Jones, the President of Fisk University, February 7, 1946, Turner mentioned the June 18 to September 8, 1934 session in Rhode Island in which he participated in “a series of conferences on the methodology of dialect investigation.” Turner Collection. Box 4, Folder 4. While history is now silent on this detail, it is possible that Turner was reinforced and encouraged in his pursuit of African languages by his Fisk University colleague, Mark Hanna Watkins, an anthropologist who completed his Ph.D. from the University of Chicago in 1933. Watkins joined the faculty at Fisk University in the Fall of 1935 and remained until 1947. Turner served on the Faculty of Fisk University from 1929–1946. Watkins is the first African American anthropologist and the first American to write a grammar of an African language, A Grammar of Chichewa (1933, published by the Linguistic Society of America in 1937). 8 “Statement of Work,” February 17, 1940. Turner Collection. Box 3, Folder 8. 9 Letter from Turner to Melville Herskovits, October 4, 1942. Turner Collection. Box 4, Folder 1. 10 “Records in Gullah Heard by Linguists,” New York Times, Sunday, January 1, 1933, p. 16, Column 3. Turner joined the American Dialect Society in 1931, but apparently not as its first African American member. According to Michele Valerie Ronnick, that distinction goes to William Sanders Scarborough, a scholar of Greek and Latin, who joined in the 1880s. His published textbook was entitled, First Lessons in Greek (1881). During his productive career as a faculty member and President of Wilberforce University (1908–1920), he published numerous articles on linguistic/language issues. See Michele Valerie Ronnick,
“William Sanders Scarborough: The First African American Member of the Modern Language Association,” PMLA 115 (7) (2000): 1787–1793. 11 David DeCamp, “Foreword,” Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect (Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press, 1974), vi. 12 Cornelia Reid Jones, “The Four Rooks Sisters,” Negro History Bulletin 16 (October, 1952): 3–8; and Connie R. Jones, “The Rooks: Famous North Carolina Family Observes 153rd Anniversary,” Color (March, 1953): 12–17. According to the latter article, the early members of the family were skilled crafts people – “spinners, weavers, dyers and seamstresses, carpenters and coppers, blacksmiths and wheelwrights, shoemakers, cabinetmakers and brickmakers . . .” (p. 12). Since skilled crafts persons were the early Black middle class, the Rooks/Turner clan had been heir to this status for four-and-a-half generations by the time Lorenzo Dow Turner was born. 13 “Obituary of Rooks Turner” (1926) by Lorenzo Dow Turner. Chicago, Personal Papers of Lois Turner Williams. 14 Interview with Lois Turner Williams by Margaret Wade-Lewis, Chicago, May 26, 1986. For much of his life, and until the day he died, Turner kept on his shelves a copy of Lorenzo Dow’s book, God, Man and the Devil: As Exemplified in the Life, Experience and Travels of Lorenzo Dow (1858). Telephone interview with Lois Turner Williams by Margaret WadeLewis, June 2, 1986; and interview with Charlotte Bell, Lorenzo Dow Turner’s oldest living cousin, by Margaret Wade-Lewis, Philadelphia, August 2, 1989 (Bell died in 1994). Telephone interview with Leonard Ballou by Margaret Wade-Lewis, May 9, 2002. Leonard Ballou is the Archivist at the G.R. Little Library, Elizabeth City State University, Elizabeth City, North Carolina. See also, Benjamin Brawley, “Lorenzo Dow,” The Journal of Negro History 1 (1916): 265–275. 15 See “Profile of a Scholar,” The Negro History Bulletin 21(2) (November, 1957): 26, 47. 16 Rayford Logan, Howard University: The First Hundred Years – 1867–1967 (New York: New York University Press, 1969), 168, 208, 255, 347; and Richard Robbins, Sidelines Activist: Charles S. Johnson and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), 48–54. 17 See Stow Persons, ed., Ethnic Studies at Chicago – 1905–1945 (Urbana: University of Illinois, 1987); and James B. McKee, Sociology and the Race Problem: The Failure of a Perspective (Urbana: University of Illinois Press, 1993). 18 See “Fisk University Brochure on African Studies, 1943.” Turner Collection. Box 18, Folder 5. See also Richard Robbins, Sidelines Activist: Charles S. Johnson and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Jackson: University of Mississippi, 1996), 32–34. 19 E. Franklin Frazier, a committed proponent of “the Chicago School” for his entire professional career, was, like Turner, a graduate of the University of Chicago. Their interactions were more than casual. In 1940, for instance, both traveled to study the African influence in Brazil, Turner on language and culture and Frazier on family life and race relations. Turner arrived first. He subsequently offered to assist Frazier and his wife, Maria, with their travel plans and housing arrangements in Rio. Turner and Frazier often collaborated in the field. See the July 9, 1940 and July 26, 1940 letters from Turner in Brazil to Frazier in the Manuscript Division, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Howard University, Washington, D.C. The E. Franklin Frazier Papers. Collection 131, Folder 16. Their third collaborator was Donald Pierson, a EuroAmerican sociologist and Afro-Brazilian specialist teaching at the Escole Livre de Sociologie e Politics in Sao Paulo. Pierson’s book, The Negro in Brazil: A Study of Race Contact at Bahia, was published by the University of Chicago Press in 1942. See David J. Hollwig, “E. Franklin Frazier’s Brazil,” in Elba Birmingham Porkornoy, ed., Proceedings of the Conference on the Black Image in Latin American Culture, Vol. 2 (Slippery
LORENZO DOW TURNER: BEYOND GULLAH STUDIES
Rock, Pennsylvania: Slippery Rock State University, 1990), 252–269. Neither Turner nor Pierson altered Frazier’s perspective. On the other hand, he did not change theirs either. Turner and Frazier no doubt debated their differing hypotheses. By 1941, Turner had concluded that the evidence of African retentions in Northern Brazil was so compelling that Frazier would abandon his former hypothesis. While Turner was still in Brazil and Frazier had departed to collect data in Haiti, Turner wrote Melville Herskovits from Bahia emphasizing that, “[Frazier] is no longer in doubt about African survivals in New World culture. From now on he will observe the American Negro through different but wiser eyes. The trip to Brazil has indeed been a revelation to him.” See letter from Lorenzo Turner to Melville Herskovits, Collection. February 4, 1941. Turner Collection. Box 4, Folder 1. 20 Letter from Turner to Daniel Jones, April 6, 1936. Turner Collection. Box 3, Folder 2. 21 “Proposal by Lorenzo Turner for a Study of Speech in Brazil” (January, 1940), p. 1. Turner Collection. Box 3, Folder 7. 22 Letter from Turner to Herskovits, February 4, 1941. Turner Collection. Box 3, Folder 8. 23 Lorenzo Dow Turner, “Some Contact of Brazilian Ex-Slaves with Nigeria, West Africa,” Journal of Negro History (January, 1942): 55–67; and Lorenzo Dow Turner, “The Negro in Brazil,” Chicago Jewish Forum (Summer, 1957): 232–236. 24 See Margaret Wade-Lewis, “The Impact of the Turner/Herskovits Connection on Anthropology and Linguistics,” Dialectical Anthropology 17 (1992): 391–412. 25 See Turner’s 1946 Grant Proposal to the American Philosophical Society. Turner Collection. Box 4, Folder 4. 26 One example is Turner’s “Proposal by Lorenzo Turner for a Study of Negro Speech in Brazil” (January, 1940). Turner Collection. Box 3, Folder 7. 27 This researcher addresses the professional relationship between Turner and Herskovits in Wade-Lewis, “The Impact of the Turner/Herskovits Connection on Anthropology and Linguistics,” Dialectical Anthropology 17 (1992): 391–412. 28 According to Lois Turner Williams, Lorenzo Dow Turner was five years older than the written records show. Effie Turner, the wife of Lorenzo Turner’s immediately older brother, Arthur, informed Turner Williams of Turner’s correct birth date late in Turner’s life. Early in his career, Turner began to list his birth date as 1895 rather than 1890, principally because most grant opportunities were limited to persons under 55 years of age. Interview with Lois Turner Williams by Margaret Wade-Lewis, Chicago, May 26, 1986. By 1933, Turner had begun to list his birth date as 1893, as is evident in his response to a questionnaire for E. Franklin Frazier. See Lorenzo Dow Turner, “A Study of the Negro Family,” circa 1933. E. Franklin Frazier Papers, Howard University Manuscript Department, Moorland-Spingarn Research Center, Washington, D.C. Collection 131, Folder 8, Questionnaire #2588. 29 Turner was relentless in pursuit of grants to fund his data collection activities. He applied for a Guggenheim (1930); a Fulbright Fellowship (1950); a Ford Foundation Fellowship (1956); two Rosenwald Fellowships (1940, 1945–1946); various grants from the American Council of Learned Societies (1932, 1933, 1937, 1940, 1949, 1951); an American Philosophical Society Fellowship (1945–1946); and grants from Fisk University and Roosevelt University. While Turner was most usually successful in gaining grants, they were fairly small. The smallest was $350.00. Another was $750.00. The grant from the Rosenwald Fund for his 1940 research year in Brazil was $3,100.00. His first American Council of Learned Societies grant for his initial work on Gullah in 1932 was $1,000.00. Among the major constraints Turner faced were a heavy teaching load, the lack of funds for regular clerical assistance for typing and manuscript preparation; limited funds for recording devices and other equipment; limited funds to pay informants; limited leave time to focus on his meticulous phonetic transcription of data; and limited publication opportunities
resulting from the politics of the first half of the 20th century, coupled with racial discrimination. These were incrementally compounded by the demands on his schedule as English Department Head and Coordinator of African Studies for most of his academic career. See “Profile of a Scholar: Lorenzo Turner,” Negro History Bulletin 21(2) (November, 1957): 26, 47. Moreover, the academic, social and political engagements resulting from his status as the most prominent African American linguist, served to limit the time available for him to prepare his research for publication. Turner also faced another reality of his times, i.e. that some Euro-Americans assumed that persons of African ancestry were not imbued with the “objectivity” to analyze their own experiences, and, therefore, should not be funded to do so. See, for example, the 1938 Annual Report of the President of the Carnegie Corporation, which announced the grant to Gunnar Myrdal to study African Americans, which resulted in The American Dilemma. It stated in part: “It appears to be essential that such a study be made under the direction of a person who would be free from the presuppositions and emotional charges which we all share to a greater or lesser degree on this subject . . .” (1938). 30 Richard Robbins, Sidelines Activist: Charles Johnson and the Struggle for Civil Rights (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 1996), 177–178. 31 Lorenzo Dow Turner, “Roosevelt College: Democratic Haven,” Opportunity 25 (October, 1947): 223–225. 32 See “Preface” to Krio Texts: With Grammatical Notes and Translations in English (Chicago: Roosevelt University, 1965). Turner Collection. Box 37, Folder 4. 33 See “Preface” to Krio Texts, 8. 34 Letter from Julia Petrow to Turner, May 10, 1963, regarding the expiration of the Krio data contracts, including Jack Berry’s. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 35 Letter from Turner to Dean Otto Wirth, May 27, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 36 Letter from Carl H. Denbow to Turner, May 14, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 37 Letter from Carl H. Denbow to Turner, June 11, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 38 Letter to Turner from Jerzy Hauptmann, September 11, 1962. Letter from Charlotte S. Young, Director of Public Relations of Park College, to Turner, September 15, 1962. Letter from Turner to Charlotte S. Young, October 9, 1962. All in Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 7. 39 Letter from Turner to Dr. Hugh Speer, March 15, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 40 Letter from Marian Koenigseden to Turner, March 14, 1963. Letter from Marian Koenigseden to Turner, August 19, 1963. Both in Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 41 Letter from Carolyn Neal to Turner, July 23, 1964. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 10. 42 Interview of Lois Turner Williams by Margaret Wade-Lewis, Chicago, August 2, 1989. See also Turner photographs. Turner Collection. 43 Letter from Mardell M. Parker to Turner, February 13, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 44 Letter from Mardell M. Parker to Turner, February 22, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 45 Letter from Wayne C. Shiffer to Turner, April 11, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 46 Letter from Turner to Wayne C. Shiffer, April 15, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 47 Letter from Turner to George Wilson of the American Dialect Society, April 9, 1945. Turner Collection. Box 4, Folder 3.
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48 Letter from Turner to Christopher Hoolihan, February 19, 1964. Turner Collection. Box 7.
Folder 10. 49 Letter from Turner to Christopher Hoolihan, February 24, 1964. Turner Collection. Box 7.
Folder 10. 50 Letter from Turner to Christopher Hoolihan, July 21, 1964. Turner Collection. Box 7,
Folder 10. 51 Letter from Christopher Hoolihan to Turner, July 15, 1964. Turner Collection. Box 7,
Folder 10. 52 Turner’s circa 1955 Grant Proposal to the African American Institute for $300.00 to
prepare his Nigeria and Sierra Leone material for publication. Turner Collection. Box 9, Folder 2. 53 “Current Research Activities of Lorenzo D. Turner,” perhaps for an Annual Report at Roosevelt College, circa 1957. Box 9, Folder 2. 54 Letter from Richard Dorson to Turner, May 20, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 55 Letter from Brenda Ludwig to Turner, December 21, 1970. Turner Collection. Box 8, Folder 7. 56 Letter from John D. Wright to Turner, January 11, 1971. Turner Collection. Box 8, Folder 7. 57 Interview with Lois Turner Williams by Margaret Wade-Lewis, August 2, 1989, Chicago. 58 Brochure, “Fisk University Inter-departmental Curriculum in African Studies.” Turner Collection, Box 18, Folder 5. 59 Letter from President Thomas Elsa Jones to Turner, September 29, 1944, Thomas Elsa Jones Collection, Fisk University, Box 42, Folder 11. 60 See course materials in the Turner Collection. Boxes 12–15; Box 16, Folder 10; Box 17, Folder 8; and Box 18, Folder 2. 61 Interview with Lois Turner Williams by Margaret Wade-Lewis, August 2, 1989, Chicago. 62 See Open Solicitation Letter from Turner to his friends, circa 1951, Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 5; also interview with Lois Turner Williams by Margaret Wade-Lewis, Chicago, October 25, 2001. 63 Letter from Turner to Mr. B. Hackett, March 14, 1964. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 10. 64 Interview with Lois Turner Williams by Margaret Wade-Lewis, Chicago, May 25, 1986. 65 Letter from Turner to Kenneth [last name not listed], May 18, Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 66 Letter from Patricia Tucker-Anthony to Turner, September 22, 1964. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 10. 67 Letter from Turner to Josephine Tucker-Anthony, December 27, Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 10; and Letter from Turner to Patricia Tucker-Anthony, January 7, 1964. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 10. 68 Interview of Lois Turner Williams by Margaret Wade-Lewis, Chicago, August 2, 1989. 69 Letter from John A. Davis to Turner, May 21, 1962. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 6. 70 Letter from Cheryl Cummer to Turner, February 18, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 71 Letter from Turner to R. E. Carlson, May 27, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 72 See Progress: A Report from Roosevelt University (November, 1958), 2. 73 Letter from Cheryl S. Cummer to Turner, May 22, 1963. Turner Collection. Box 7, Folder 8. 74 Brochure from the 1958-1959 B’nai Torah Temple Forum Lecture Series, Lincoln School, Highland Park, Illinois. Turner Collection.
75 “Poet Wins Award,” The Chicago Defender, February 8, 1947. 76 See Michael Montgomery and Susan Mille, “Introduction,” to the 2002 edition of Lorenzo
Dow Turner, Africanisms in the Gullah Dialect, University of South Carolina Press, 2002. 77 For a complete bibliography of Turner’s work, see Margaret Wade-Lewis, “Lorenzo Dow
Turner: Pioneer African American Linguist,” The Black Scholar 21(4) (Fall, 1991): 10–24.