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BACON,Jacqueline and MCCLISH, Glen

Winter 2006, pages 1 - 29

Descendents of Africa, Sons of '76: Exploring Early African-American Rhetoric

African-American rhetoric of the early Republic has been largely unexplored by rhetorical scholars. Addressing this gap in the scholarship, this study analyzes two intricately related forms of discourse: late eighteenth-century petitions and speeches celebrating the 1808 abolition of the international slave trade to the United States. Both sets of texts contribute to the expression of an African-American public voice, build upon and critique American ideals while retaining a proud sense of African heritage, exploit the available generic conventions, develop increasingly radical appeals, and feature arguments that transcend local issues to engage general questions of identity and history.


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