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MC CLISH, Glen

Winter 2005, pages 47 - 72

William G. Allen's "Orators and Oratory": Inventional Amalgamation, Pathos, and the Characterization of Violence in African-American Abolitionist Rhetoric

ABSTRACT: This study explores the rhetoric of African-American educator and abolitionist William Grant Allen through an analysis of "Orators and Oratory," an address delivered to the Dialexian Society of New York Central College. I feature Allen's effort to meld a variety of traditions and approaches to enlist his student audience in the cause of abolition. Further, I take up two related, but distinct components of "Orators and Oratory": the emphasis on appeals to the emotions and the portrayal of violence. More generally, I suggest ways in which Allen's speech serves as a window onto the rhetoric of marginalized abolitionist rhetors.
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