Although it is estimated that as late as the mid-eighteenth century 16–20% of the slaves in New York and New Jersey spoke Dutch, very little research has been done on America's Dutch-speaking black community. Despite the paucity of sources, this article provides an overview of the importance of the Dutch language for the black community from the seventeenth-century colony of New Netherland to nineteenth-century New York and New Jersey. It also raises the question of whether Dutch-speaking blacks, in addition to whites, may have played a role in the transmission of Dutch linguistic elements into American English.

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