African-American Orators: A Bio-Critical Sourcebook by Richard Leeman

By Richard Leeman

This long-needed sourcebook assesses the original kinds and topics of impressive African-American orators from the mid-19th century to the present―of forty three consultant public audio system, from W.E.B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells-Barnett, Martin Luther King Jr. and Jesse Jackson to Barbara Jordan and Thurgood Marshall. The serious analyses of the oratory of a wide phase of alternative sorts of public audio system reveal how they've got under pressure the ancient look for freedom, upheld American beliefs whereas condemning discriminatory practices opposed to African-Americans, and feature spoken in behalf of black delight. This biographical dictionary with its evaluative essays, resources for additional studying, and speech chronologies is designed for huge interdisciplinary use via scholars, lecturers, activists, and basic readers in university, college, institutional, and public libraries.

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But it was with pride that she related her accomplishments—‘‘I could work as much and eat as much as a man, and bear the lash as well’’—and the irony of her question illuminated the audience’s ignorance of what was prideful, not hers. ‘‘Nobody has any business with a right that belongs to her,’’ Truth postulated in her speech of May 10, 1867, to the American Equal Rights Association convention. ’’ Abolitionist speakers were hardly alone in reminding their audiences, white as well as black, of African-Americans’ worth to themselves and their country.

While their debate about the proper strategy for acquiring full civil rights was played out in many arenas, oratory was, for both, a major avenue for articulating their philosophies and reasoning. Preaching, of course, has long been a training ground for African-American speakers. Barred from most middle-and upper-middle-class occupations, many of the community’s brightest entered the ministry. Habituated to the practice of sermonizing, oratory grounded in religious argument was a mainstay for these advocates of reform, including such speakers as Henry Highland Garnet and Alexander Crummell.

Communication Studies 30 (1979): 272–277. Thompson, Wayne N. ’’ The Southern Communication Journal 44 (1979): 223–232. Thurber, John H. and John L. Petelle. ’’ Communication Studies 15 (1968): 273–278. Wagner, Gerald A. ’’ Southern Communication Journal 28 (1962): 123–130. Walker, Robbie Jean, ed. The Rhetoric of Struggle: Public Address by African American Women. 1992. Ward, James, ed. African American Communications. Dubuque, IA: Kendall/Hunt, 1993. Ware, B. L. and Wil A. Linkugel. ’’ Communication Monographs 49 (1982): 50–62.

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