Liberating Language

Liberating Language

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Liberating Language identifies experiences of nineteenth-century African Americansa€”categorized as sites of rhetorical educationa€”that provided opportunities to develop effective communication and critical text-interpretation skills. Author Shirley Wilson Logan considers how nontraditional sites, which seldom involved formal training in rhetorical instruction, proved to be effective resources for African American advancement. Logan traces the ways that African Americans learned lessons in rhetoric through language-based activities associated with black survival in nineteenth-century America, such as working in political organizations, reading and publishing newspapers, maintaining diaries, and participating in literary societies. According to Logan, rhetorical training was manifested through places of worship and military camps, self-education in oratory and elocution, literary societies, and the black press. She draws on the experiences of various black rhetors of the era, such as Frederick Douglass, Frances Harper, Fanny Coppin, Charles Chesnutt, Ida B. Wells, and the lesser-known Oberlin-educated Mary Virginia Montgomery, Virginia slave preacher qUncle Jack, q and former slave qMrs. Lee.q Liberating Language addresses free-floating literacy, a term coined by scholar and writer Ralph Ellison, which captures the many settings where literacy and rhetorical skills were acquired and developed, including slave missions, religious gatherings, war camps, and even cigar factories. In Civil War camp- sites, for instance, black soldiers learned to read and write, corresponded with the editors of black newspapers, edited their own camp-based papers, and formed literary associations. Liberating Language outlines nontraditional means of acquiring rhetorical skills and demonstrates how African Americans, faced with the lingering consequences of enslavement and continuing oppression, acquired rhetorical competence during the late eighteenth century and throughout the nineteenth century.37 The Christian Recorder, as the official organ of the AME Church, carried numerous essays on elocution and its impact on the art of preaching. ... delivery and closes with lines on the power of eloquence from English poet Samuel Daniel.39 aquot;Practical Elocutionaquot; is ... 40 An extended essay on rhetoric titled aquot; American Eloquenceaquot; appeared in an 1852 issue of FDP. ... in terms of the historical trajectory of the examples, the topics associated with the rise of eloquence, and the names ofanbsp;...

Title:Liberating Language
Author:Shirley Wilson Logan
Publisher:SIU Press - 2008-09-11


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