Rhetoric 275: African American Public Address
Charles I. Nero, Ph.D
Department of Theater and Rhetoric
and the Programs in African American and American Cultural Studies
Office Hours: WF 9:00 a.m.--11:00 a.m.
W 3:00 p.m.--4:00 p.m.
Bebe Moore Campbell, Brothers and Sisters
David Howard-Pitney, The Afro-American Jeremiad
Readings, Viewings, and Listening Materials on the Internet and Reserve in Ladd LibraryGrading:
15% Mid-Term Exam
20% Final Exam
20% Final Paper
25% Response Papers (5)
10% Attend W. E. B. Du Bois Symposium
10% Class Participation
Bonus: Up to 10% for attending two lectures relevant to African American life and culture
This course is a study of the history of oratory and public addresses by African American women and men. We examine religous, political, and ceremonial speeches. This course pays particular attention to gender and the historical development of men and women's rhetorical traditions.
It is beyond the scope of this course to examine the totality of speeches given
by African Americans from the late 18th century to the present. So, we
will examine a representative sample of speeches from issues and events affecting
9/3 W African American Oratory: Introduction
9/5 F Required Readings:
Ernest J. Wrage, "Public Address: A Study in Social and Intellectual History," QJS 33 (1947): 451-457.
Robert N. Bellah, "Civil Religion in America" in Russel E. Richey and Donald G. Jones (ed.), American Civil Religion (NY: Harper, 1974).
Wilson J. Moses, "What Are Black Americans? More Than an Ethnic Group, Less Than a Nation," in Wilson J. Moses, The Wings of Ethiopia (Ames: Iowa State University Press, 1990)
Donald K. Enholm, David Curtis Skaggs, and W. Jeffrey Welsh, "Origins of the Southern Mind: The Parochial Sermons of Thomas Cradock of Maryland, 1744--1770," Quarterly Journal of Speech 73 (1987): 200-218.
9/8 M African American Orators: Prophets, Mediators, and Saviors
Derrick Bell, excerpt from Faces At the Bottom of the Well
bell hooks, "Talking Back"
David Howard-Pitney (HP), Introduction, The Afro-American Jeremiad, pp. 3-16
Sidnie Ann White, "Esther: A Feminine Model for Jewish Diaspora." In Peggy L. Day (ed.), Gender and Difference in Ancient Israel.
The Old Testament Book of Esther
Optional Reading: Barry Weller, "The Royal Slave and the Prestige of Origins," Kenyon Review 14 (Summer 1992): 65-78
African American Orators Attack Slavery
9/12 F David Walker’s Appeal in Four Articles (1829)
Maria Stewart's Farewell Address
Sojourner Truth's "Ain't I a Woman?"
Sarah Parker Remond, "Why Slavery Is Still Rampant" (1859) [This text is unavailable, so please read the speeches the follow.]
Frances Ellen Watkins, "Liberty for Slaves" (1857), Sojourner Truth, "Snakes and Geese" (1853), and
Sarah Mapps Douglass, "The Cause of the Slave Became My Own" (1832)
Henry Highland Garnet "An Address to the Slaves of the United States of America" (1843)
Eddie Glaude, “‘Pharaoh’s on Both Sides of the Blood-Red Waters”: Henry Highland Garnet and the National Convention of 1843.” Exodus! : Religion, Race, and Nation in Early Nineteenth-Century Black America (Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2000): 143-159.
Frederick Douglass, "What to the Slave Is the Fourth of July?" (1853)
HP, Chs. 1-2, pp. 17-52
Gender Issues, Mediation and Confrontation in Post-Bellum America
9/22 M Were Women Better Suited Than Men to Lead the Race?
Deborah Gray White, excerpt from Defending Our Name
Part 1: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice (We will view this film in class)
Without Sanctuary a website about lynching photography and postcards in America
9/24 W Part 2: Ida B. Wells: A Passion for Justice (We will view this film in class)
9/26 F Ida
B. Wells "Southern Horrors: Lynch Law"
"Lynch Law in All Its Phases" (1893)
HP, Ch. 3 pp. 72-87
Maggie Lena Walker, "Let Women Choose Her Own Vocation"
Elsa Barkley Brown, "Womanist Consciousness: Maggie Lena Walker and the Independent Order of St. Luke"
This opera by ragtime composer Scott Joplin is on reserve in Ladd Library. It is approximately 90 minutes. Copies are available on three medium:
CD COM XM 119 .J67 T74 1992
VHS M1500.J665 T74 1982
Record XM 119 .J67 T74 197
10/1 W Booker T. Washington, Up From Slavery (1901) Chs. 1 &10
HP, Ch. 3, pp. 53-72
10/3 F Washington, cont. Chapters, 13 &14
Charles I. Nero, "Transvesting at Atlanta: Booker T. Washington as Queen Esther"
W. E. B. Du Bois The Souls of Black Folk Forethought, and Chapters 1 and 3
Hazel Carby, excerpt from Race Men
For the next class view the documentary
film, The Jubilee Singers: Sacrifice and Glory.
This film is on reserve in Ladd Library. It is 60 minutes. ML 421 .J77 J835 2000
For additional, but not required, you may listen to a variety of collections of spirituals. I recommend The Moses Hogan Chorale, Abide With Me COM XM 505 .M67 A2 1998, but many more collections are available. Do a subject search under the subject heading Spirituals (Songs)
The Souls of Black Folk, Chapters 13 and 14
Howard-Pitney , Ch.. 4, pp. 87-111
Du Bois Symposium/ No Regular Class
Fall Break 10/15--10/17 No Classes
M 10/20 Marcus Garvey
The Great Migration and African American Oratory
Marcus Garvey, Speech at Newport News Adobe Acrobat Reader needed to view this document
Listen to "Horizons: Marcus Garvey" in class
View Film for Next Class: Say Amen, Somebody M2198 .S39 1984 (On Reserve)
W 10/22 Mary McLeod Bethune
Mary McLeod Bethune, "Clarifying Our Vision With the Facts" Adobe Acrobat Reader needed to view this document. "Last Will and Testament"
Photogallery of images of Bethune
HP, Ch. 5, pp. 111-132.
Th 10/23 Special Screening of Film: Say Amen, Somebody
F Rev. C. L. Franklin
C. L. Franklin, "The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest" Adobe Acrobat Reader needed to view this document.
In Class Listening, "The Eagle Stirreth Her Nest"
The Civil Rights Movement
M 10/27 3/6 Martin Luther King, Jr.
King, "I Have A Dream" and "Letter From a Birmingham Jail"
Keith D. Miller, "Epistemology of a Drum Major," Rhetoric Society Quarterly 18 (Summer-Fall, 1988): 225-236
Keith D. Miller, "Voice Merging and Self-Making: The Epistemology of 'I Have a Dream,'" Rhetoric Society Quarterly 19 (Winter 1989): 23-31. Adobe Acrobat Reader needed to view the Miller documents.
HP, Chs. 6-7, pp. 133-184..
W 10/29 Malcolm X and Stokeley Carmichael
Malcolm X, "The Ballot or the Bullet"
Stokeley Carmichael "Explains Black Power to a White Audience" and "Explains Black Power to a Black Audience"
F 10/31 Fannie Lue Hamer
Fannie Lue Hamer, “Speech to the Democratic National Convention”
Bernice Johnson Reagon, "Women as Culture Carriers in the Civil Rights Movement: Fannie Lou Hamer". Adobe Acrobat Reader needed to view this document.
Post-Civil Rights Movement
Examples from the Black Left: Jesse Jackson, Audre Lorde, and Marlon
Readings: Jesse Jackson, "Address Before the Democratic Convention, 1984 (Rainbow Coalition)"; Audre Lorde, "I Am Your Sister"; and "Marlon Riggs, "Ruminations of a Snap Queen: What Time Is It?" (You need an Adobe Reader to view this speech.)
HP, Conclusion, pp. 185-194.
W 11/5 The Clarence Thomas Senate Confirmation Hearings
Anita Hill and Clarence Thomas
F 11/7 Examples from the Black Right: Clarence Pendleton, Colin Powell, and Condoleeza Rice
Charles I. Nero, "Clarence Pendleton and the Rhetoric of Paradox," The Howard Journal of Communications 3 (Winter/Spring 1992): 204-217. (You need an Adobe Reader to view this essay.)
Clarence Pendleton, "Address to the Akron Roundtable" (You need an Adobe Reader to view this speech.)
Colin Powell, "Remarks at the Republican Convention, 1996"
Colin Powell, "Remarks at the Republican Convention, 2000"
Condoleeza Rice, "Remarks at the Republican Convention, 2000"
Focus on Literature: Bebe Moore Campbell and the Esther Tradition of Mediation
M 11/10 Bebe Moore Campbell, Brothers and Sisters
W 11/12 Bebe Moore Campbell, Brothers and Sisters
F 11/14 Bebe Moore Campbell, Brothers and Sisters
M 12/1 Final Examples and Issues:
Louis Farrakhan and the Million Man March
Study Guide for the Final Exam
Final Exam: Tuesday, 3:45 p.m.