The Humblest May Stand Forth: Rhetoric, Empowerment, and Abolition

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"Offering an alternative account of the abolitionist movement, The Humblest May Stand Forth analyzes the rhetoric of African Americans and white females involved in the crusade against slavery and examines the particular strategies they chose to advocate despite their positions at the periphery of the movement. Jacqueline Bacon explores how these activists, rather than surrender to a society intent on keeping them quiet, identified and employed rhetorical strategies that would advance their message. Bacon explores the sometimes unconventional methods, organizations, and media they created to fight slavery on their own terms." Drawing on such primary sources as letters, editorials, proslavery and antislavery tracts, and domestic manuals, Bacon probes antebellum notions of race and gender and the ways that these conceptions influenced the abolitionists' arguments. She suggests that abolitionists marginalized by race and gender developed a diverse, empowering, and theoretically complex array of rhetorical strategies that must be analyzed on their own terms.
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Editorial Reviews

Because of the marginalized status of African-Americans and women in antebellum America, these actors were forced to create distinct rhetorics of challenge to both slavery and the mainstream rhetorical practices of white male abolitionists, argues in dependent scholar Bacon. She analyzes the abolitionist rhetoric of Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, the Grimk<'e> sisters, Lucretia Mott, and a number of lesser known figures and argues that the rhetorics developed provided an inspiration and a resource for later activists such as Malcolm X, Ida B. Wells, and Audre Lord. Annotation c. Book News, Inc., Portland, OR (
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781570034343
  • Publisher: University of South Carolina Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2002
  • Series: Studies in Rhetoric/Communication Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 352
  • Product dimensions: 6.25 (w) x 9.25 (h) x 1.13 (d)

Table of Contents

Editor's Preface
1 Slavery and Silence, Freedom and Rhetoric 1
2 Recovering the Voices of Marginalized Abolitionists 15
3 Too Long Have Others Spoken for Us: The Antislavery Rhetoric of African American Men 51
4 If I Was a Man, How I Would Lecture! White Women Rhetors in the Abolition Movement 109
5 What if I Am a Woman? The Rhetoric of African American Female Abolitionists 165
6 Rhetoric and Empowerment: The Marginalized Abolitionists and Beyond 220
Notes 237
Bibliography 257
Index 277
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