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By Associate Professor Elaine B Richardson, Ronald L Jackson II

African American Rhetoric(s): Interdisciplinary Perspectives is an advent to basic options and a scientific integration of ancient and modern strains of inquiry within the research of African American rhetorics. Edited through Elaine B. Richardson and Ronald L. Jackson II, the quantity explores culturally and discursively built kinds of wisdom, communicative practices, and persuasive concepts rooted in freedom struggles by way of humans of African ancestry in America.
 
Outlining African American rhetorics present in literature, ancient records, and pop culture, the gathering offers students, scholars, and academics with leading edge techniques for discussing the epistemologies and realities that foster the inclusion of rhetorical discourse in African American stories. as well as interpreting African American rhetoric, the fourteen participants venture visions for pedagogy within the box and handle new parts and renewed avenues of analysis. the result's an exploration of what parameters can be utilized to start a extra thorough and important attention of African americans in rhetorical space.

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We confess that we began to wonder, and we asked a fine- Black Speakers, White Representations 27 looking man before us, “What is her color? ” (qtd. in Still, 1872, p. 775) A reporter from the Portland (Maine) Daily Press described Harper as having “splendid articulation,” using “chaste, pure language,” having “a pleasant voice,” and allowing “no one to tire of hearing her” (qtd. in Still, 1872, p. 760). Carla Peterson suggests that such descriptions represent attempts to “decorporealize Watkins Harper by emphasizing the quietness of her body, the chastity of her language, and the purity of her voice,” adding that the resulting effect is “to eliminate the public presence of the Black female body perceived as sexualized or grotesque, and to promote the voice as pure melody, insubstantial sound, a negation of presence” (1995, pp.

Communication between different ethnic and linguistic groups was difficult, but the almost universal African regard for the power of the spoken word contributed to the development of alternate communication patterns in the work songs, Black English, sermons, and Spirituals, with their dual meanings, one for the body and one for the soul. It is precisely the power of the word in today’s black society that authentically speaks of an African past. Thus, to omit Introduction 13 black rhetoric as manifest in speeches and songs from any investigation of black history is to ignore the essential ingredient in the making of black drama.

Black Speakers, White Representations 33 What in Harper’s rhetorical training may have enabled such responses to her public speaking? She attended her uncle William Watkins’s Academy for Negro Youth in Baltimore until she was thirteen. The Reverend Watkins taught grammar from Samuel Kirkham’s English Grammar in Familiar Lessons, a popular nineteenth-century textbook. In his classroom, Watkins emphasized elocution and precise composition. One former student, who matriculated ten years after Harper, recalled William Watkins as a strict teacher, “demanding an exact inflection of a pupil’s voice” and adding that “every example in etymology, syntax and prosody had to be given as correctly as sound upon a key-board .

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