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"What If I Am a Woman?": Black Feminist Rhetorical Strategies of Intersectional Identification and Resistance in Maria Stewart's Texts
"What If I Am a Woman?": Black Feminist Rhetorical Strategies of Intersectional Identification and Resistance in Maria Stewart's Texts
Southern Communication Journal, Volume 83, 2018 - Issue 5


In this essay, I argue that an analysis of Maria W. Stewart’s rhetorical choices extends her legacy as an early proponent of the intersectionality of African American female identity. She uses casuistry as defined by Kenneth Burke, dissociation as articulated by Chaim Perelman and applied by Shirley Wilson Logan, and rearticulation as defined by Patricia Hill Collins to confirm herself as sacrificially American through consubstantiation, nobly African by history, and divinely feminine by God. She articulates a Black female consciousness that is empowered to move toward breaking the oppressive conditions of their triple consciousness. Her use of rearticulation to resolve the failures of respectability politics provides relevance for the use of African American feminist theories as a rhetorical technique.

History Recovery Project
This research explores the lost Black History of Midtown Atlanta. 
The Church and Politics
Communism, the Clergy, and the Civil Rights Movement

Presented at the 41st Annual National Council of Black Studies Conference (March 2017). Houston, TX


Although the 1950s-clergy’s remarkable success in using the prophetic tradition to motivate activists into the civil rights movement is known, their rhetorical strategy of using post-WWII foreign policy perception in the United States as a persuasive tool has not thoroughly been criticized. This essay seeks to demonstrate how the clergy persuaded the Nation that the sin of segregation was the evil that would destroy “God’s country” and the hopeful leader of the free world. A textual examination of the clergy’s oratory of the 1950s reveals that they 1) presented Southern segregationists as foreigners in their own country, and 2) spread fear of a communist attack due to international distrust of an “unequal” America to force executive action against the South’s racial inequalities. Understanding the rhetorical history of the clergy in social movements counters the dominant narrative that religious leaders are triumphant because they overcome prejudice with morality. It provides key insights into the Judeo-Christian clergy’s rhetorical strategies that go beyond the prophetic tradition of the Old Testament.

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