We Are Coming: The Persuasive Discourse of Nineteenth-Century Black Women / Edition 1

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Shirley Wilson Logan analyzes the distinctive rhetorical features in the persuasive discourse of nineteenth-century black women, concentrating on the public discourse of club and church women from 1880 until 1900.

Logan develops each chapter in this illustrated study around a feature of public address as best exemplified in the oratory of a particular woman speaker of the era. She analyzes not only speeches but also editorials, essays, and letters.

Logan first focuses on the prophetic oratory of Maria Stewart, the first American-born black woman to speak publicly. Turning to Frances Harper, she considers speeches that argue for common interests between divergent communities. And she demonstrates that central to the antilynching rhetoric of Ida Wells is the concept of "presence," or the tactic of enhancing certain selected elements of the presentation.

In her discussion of Fannie Barrier Williams and Anna Cooper, Logan shows that when speaking to white club women and black clergymen, both Williams and Cooper employ what Kenneth Burke called identification. To analyze the rhetoric of Victoria Matthews, she applies Carolyn Miller's modification of Lloyd Bitzer's concept of the rhetorical situation.

Logan also examines the discourse of women associated with the black Baptist women's movement and those participating in college-affiliated conferences.

The book includes an appendix with little-known speeches and essays by Anna Julia Cooper, Selena Sloan Butler, Lucy Wilmot Smith, Mary V. Cook, Adella Hunt Logan, Victoria Earle Matthews, Lucy C. Laney, and Georgia Swift King.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"As a book that brings rhetorical theory, nineteenth-century African American women writers, and feminist discourse together in one source, this research and writing is extremely valuable both for future scholarship and classroom use."       —Joyce Irene Middleton, University of Rochester
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780809321933
  • Publisher: Southern Illinois University Press
  • Publication date: 8/4/1999
  • Edition description: 1st Edition
  • Edition number: 1
  • Pages: 288
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.20 (d)

Meet the Author

Shirley Wilson Logan is an associate professor of English at the University of Maryland, where she directs the Professional Writing Program. She is the editor of With Pen and Voice: A Critical Anthology of Nineteenth-Century African-American Women.

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Table of Contents

List of Illustrations
1 Black Women on the Speaker's Platform, 1832-1900: An Overview 1
2 African Origins/American Appropriations: Maria Stewart and "Ethiopia Rising" 23
3 "We Are All Bound Up Together": Frances Harper's Converging Communities of Interest 44
4 "Out of Their Own Mouths": Ida Wells and the Presence of Lynching 70
5 "Women of a Common Country, with Common Interests": Fannie Barrier Williams, Anna Julia Cooper, Identification and Arrangement 98
6 "To Embalm Her Memory in Song and Story": Victoria Earle Matthews and Situated Sisterhood 127
7 "Can Woman Do This Work?": The Discourse of Racial Uplift 152
App. 1 Need of Day Nurseries 181
App. 2 Woman's Place in the Work of the Denomination 184
App. 3 Colored Women as Wage-Earners 200
App. 4 Mothers' Meetings 206
App. 5 Address Before the Women's Meeting 208
App. 6 Prenatal and Hereditary Influences 211
App. 7 Some of the Dangers Confronting Southern Girls in the North 215
App. 8 The Future Colored Girl 221
Notes 229
Works Cited 237
Index 249
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