Sutcliffe, David. 1999.
"Gleaning after the reapers have passed: A new look at attestations of Creole in the Ex-Slave recordings."
The Creolist Archives Papers Online.http://www.ling.su.se/Creole/Archive/Sutcliffe-1.html
Based on "The Voice of the Ancestors: Evidence from the 19th and early 20th0 centuries on prior AAVE and creole", a paper given at the Conference on African American Vernacular English - The state of the art. University of Georgia, Athens GA, October 1998.
This paper by Sutcliffe documents the result of painstaking re-listenings to, and re-analysis of, the ESR tapes from the Library of Congress (published inThe Emergence of Black English by Guy Bailey et al. 1991), resulting in the accumulation of nearly a hundred instances which might be creolisms, largely in speakers from the East Texas Louisiana border area. It is a remarkable example of how paying attention to minute details and questioning existing transcriptions can prdouce new information.
The paper is supplemented by evidence from other published records of 19th- and early 20th-century African American speech. The paper also discusses a previously unpublished narrative of an encounter by Ex-slave Elder Laura Smalley's mother with Native Americans in the early 19th century, and gives an account of some of the "micro-switches, or small intrusions of creole-derived features" in a short connected passage by Ex-slave Elder Billy McCrae, describing the arrival of Northern troops in his community at the end of the Civil War.
Sutcliffe's conclusion is that "creole-like features seen to occur in modern AAVE do after all have an earlier precedentů a 19th plantation creole or semi-creole evidently spoken outside the recognized Gullah area." Sutcliffe sees this as leading to a synthesis of the formerly opposed dialectologist and creolist positions on AAVE, namely that it descends either directly from a dialect of English or directly from a Creole.
The micro-switches from the Ex-Slave Recordings which Sutcliffe analyzes here are currently being prepared for mounting on theCreolist Archives website where they will be freely available.