Scholarship: 1926-1960

Below is the published and non-published scholarship produced that focused primarily on African American rhetoric and public address during this period. If you have scholarship to contribute, please contact Andre E. Johnson at


Brown, Sterling A., Arthur P. Davis, Ulysses Lee. The Negro Caravan (Chapter 6). New York: Dryden Press, 1941. 

Pipes, William H. Say Amen Brother!: Old-Time Negro Preaching. A Study in American Frustration. New York: The William Frederick Press, 1951.

Ransom, Reverdy C. The Spirit of Freedom and Justice: Oration and Speeches. Nashville, Tennessee, AME Sunday School Union, 1926


African Rhetoric

Gray, Giles Wilkeson. Precepts of Kagemni and Ptah-Hotep. Quarterly Journal of Speech. Dec46, Vol. 32 Issue 4, p446. 9p 


Bardolph, Richard. The Distinguished Negro in America, 1770-1936. The American Historical Review, Vol. 60, No. 3 (Apr., 1955), pp. 527-547

Bradley, Bert. Negro Speakers in Congress: 1869-1875. The Southern Speech Journal. Volume: 18 Issue: 4, 1953, p. 216-225

Honan, William Holmes. John Jasper and the Sermon That Moved the Sun. Speech Monographs. Volume 23, Issue: 4, 1956, pp. 255-261.

Killian, Lewis. M. and Charles U. Smith. Negro Protest Leaders in a Southern Community. Social Forces, Volume 38, Issue 3, March 1960, Pages 253–257

Read, Allen Walker. The Speech of Negroes in Colonial America. Journal of Negro History, Vol. 24, No. 3 (Jul., 1939), pp. 247-258

Ryon, Fred. William Allen: Negro Evangelist of the Society of Friends. Bulletin of Friends' Historical Association, Volume 47, Number 2, Autumn 1958, pp. 94-105

Woolridge, Nancy Bullock. The Slave Preacher--Portrait of a Leader. The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 14, No. 1 (Winter, 1945), pp. 28-37

Religious/Pulpit Oratory

Pipes, William Harrison. Old‐Time Negro Preaching: An Interpretative Study. Quarterly Journal of Speech. Volume 31, 1945 - Issue 1

Rhetorical Education/Pedagogy

Boulware, Marcus H. Speech Training in Negro Colleges. Quarterly Journal of Speech. Dec 47, Vol. 33 Issue 4, p509. 6p.

Hurston, Zora Neale. Characteristics of Negro Expression

Parker, John W. Current Debate Practices in Thirty Negro Colleges. The Journal of Negro Education. Vol. 9, No. 1 (Jan., 1940), pp. 32-38

Parker, John W. The Status of Debate in the Negro College. The Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 24, No. 2 (Spring, 1955), pp. 146-153

Porter, Dorothy B. The Organized Educational Activities of Negro Literary Societies, 1828-1846. Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 5, No. 4 (Oct., 1936), pp. 555-576

Voorhees, Lillian A. Program of Speech Education for Talladega College. Journal of Negro Education, Vol. 15, No. 1 (Winter, 1946), pp. 109-116

Voorhees, Lillian A. Speech in the Negro College. Southern Speech Bulletin. Vol 6, No. 3, 1941. 51-56.

Social Movements

Aptheker, Herbert. The Negro in the Abolitionist Movement. Science & Society, Vol. 5, No. 2 (Spring, 1941), pp. 148-172

Bell, Howard H. National Negro Conventions of the Middle 1840's: Moral Suasion vs. Political Action. The Journal of Negro History, Vol. 42, No. 4 (Oct., 1957), pp. 247-260


Bennett, Willifred. Survey of American Negro Oratory. Negro History Bulletin. Vol. 7 Issue 9, 1944.

Lash, John S. The Anthologist and the Negro Author. Phylon. Vol. 8, No. 1 (1st Qtr., 1947), pp. 68-76. 


Bennett, Winfield DeWitt. A Survey of American Negro Oratory: From 1619-1933. MA Thesis, Columbian College, 1935

Crawford, Julma B. "The Writings of Benjamin Banneker: Their Effect Upon Concepts Regarding the Negro in America, 1750-1800." MA Thesis, Loyola University--Chicago, 1947

May, A. Florence. A Study of Speech Education in Four Year Negro Colleges and Universities in the United States. Ph.D. Diss. Northwestern University, 1951

Moseberry, Lowell Tillry. An Historical Study of Negro Oratory in the United States to 1915. Ph.D. Diss. University of Southern California, 1955.

Pipes, William Harrison, Sources of Booker T. Washington's Effectiveness as a Public Speaker. MA Thesis, Atlanta University, 1957.

Williams, Jayme Coleman. A Rhetorical Analysis of Thurgood Marshall's Arguments Before the Supreme Court in the Public School Controversy. Ph.D. Diss. The Ohio State University, 1959


Locke, Alain. The Spirit of Freedom and Justice: Orations and Speeches, by Reverdy C. Ransom. Journal of Negro History, Vol. 12, No. 1 (Jan., 1927), pp. 99-101

Pawley, Thomas D. Say Amen Brother by William H. Pipes. Quarterly Journal of Speech. Dec51, Vol. 37 Issue 4, p498. 3p.

Woolridge, Nancy. B. Say Amen Brother! by William H. Pipes. Phylon, Vol. 12, No. 4 (4th Qtr., 1951), pp. 396-397

Where the Sacred and Secular Harmonize

by David G. Holmes 

Among pivotal historical moments in the United States, the civil rights movement stands out. In Where the Sacred and Secular Harmonize: Birmingham Mass Meeting Rhetoric and the Living Legacy of African American Prophecy, David G. Holmes offers an original rhetorical analysis of six speeches delivered during the 1963 civil rights campaign in Birmingham, Alabama. Holmes frames his analysis within the biblical concept of prophecy. However, he stresses the idea of prophecy as sociopolitical forth-telling, rather than mystical foretelling. Based on his own transcriptions from rare recordings, Holmes examines how these orations, which clergy and laypeople delivered, address enduring themes such as the role of religion and politics, black leadership and black activism, and the political and popular legacies of the civil rights movement. Drawing upon American history, politics, hermeneutics, homiletics, and rhetoric, Holmes's discussion ranges from civil rights prophets to contemporary politicians, including Martin Luther King Jr. and Barack Obama. Where the Sacred and Secular Harmonize illustrates how the Birmingham mass meeting oratory of 1963 represented a quality of democratic discourse desperately needed today.

#AAPA2019: African American Public Address Pre-Conference at NCA

The National Communication Association will sponsor a day-long pre-conference titled "Yet with a Steady Beat": Creating and Sustaining the African American Public Address Tradition on Wednesday, November 13, 2019, at its national conference in Baltimore, Maryland. Chaired and organized by Andre E. Johnson, Associate Professor of Rhetoric and Media Studies at the University of Memphis, the conference will consist of panel presentations and a roundtable discussion centered on the recent conversation around diversity versus merit. 

**All of the pre-registered seating is gone! However, we are collecting a waiting list. If you are still interested in attending, please sign up here to be placed on the waiting list.

Sponsor: Preconferences
Wed, 11/13/19: 8:00 AM - 4:00 PM

Baltimore Convention Center
Room: 344 (300 Level) 

Official Social Media Hashtag: 


Below is the schedule:

8am-8:30am: Gathering, Introduction to the pre-conference:

8:30am-9:45am-Panel 1: Politics and Protest in African American Public Address

Chair: Natonya Listach, University of Memphis

David A. Frank, University of Oregon

DamariyƩ L. Smith, University of Memphis

Erica Cooper, East Carolina University

Andrew Boge, University of Iowa

Respondent: Richard Leeman, the University of North Carolina at Charlotte


10:00am-11:15am: Panel 2: Religious Rhetoric and Oratory

Chair: Melissa Renee Harris, Howard University

Earle Fisher, Memphis Theological Seminary

Nicole McDonald, Christian Theological Seminary

Scott Varda, Baylor University

Matt Farmer, University of Georgia

Respondent: David G. Holmes, Pepperdine University


11:30am-12:45pm- Roundtable: Diversity vs Merit: A Response to the DS Controversy

Jack Daniel, Co-founder of the Black Caucus of the National Communication Association

Dorthy Pennington, University of Kansas

Richard Besel, Grand Valley State University

Kimberly Moffitt, University of Maryland Baltimore County

Carlos Morrison, Alabama State University

Elizabeth F. Desnoyers-Colas, Georgia Southern University-Armstrong Campus

Roslyn Satchel, Pepperdine University

Moderator: Andre E. Johnson, University of Memphis


1:00pm-2:15pm: Panel 3: Womanist Rhetorical Theory and Criticism 

Chair: Ayo Morton, University of Memphis

Kimberly P. Johnson, Tennessee State University

Tiffany J. Bell, Valparaiso University

Dianna Watkins-Dickerson, University of Memphis

A. Madlock-Gatison, Independent Scholar

Respondent: Toniesha L. Taylor, Texas Southern University


2:30pm-3:45pm: Panel 4: Future Directions

Chair: Lionnell "Badu" Smith, University of Memphis

Kelly Jakes, College of Charleston

Carolin Aronis, University of Colorado Boulder & Natasha Shrikant, University of Colorado Boulder

Kristine Warrenburg Rome, Flagler College

Nicholas Prephan, Wayne State University & Arthi Chandrasekaran, Wayne State University

Respondent: Robert Terrill, Indiana University

3:45-4:00pm: Concluding Remarks

4:00pm-5:15: Roundtable: In the Beginning Was the Word: Understanding the Intersection of Rhetoric Race and ReligionHosted by the Religious Communication Association.

Location: Sheraton Inner Harbor Hotel. 300 South Charles Street, Baltimore, MD. 

Andre E. Johnson, University of Memphis

Dianna Watkins-Dickerson, University of Memphis

Kimberly P. Johnson, Tennessee State University

Christopher House, Ithaca College

R. Janae Pitts-Murdock, Christian Theological Seminary

Earle Fisher, Memphis Theological Seminary

Michelle E. Shaw, Northwestern University

Monique Moultrie, Georgia State University

Kyle Brooks, Methodist Theological School in Ohio

C.L. Dangerfield, University of Memphis

7:00pm-8:30pm: Pulpit Oratory: Jesus and the Black Prophetic Tradition 
Hosted by New Saint Mark Baptist Church, 3905 Springdale Avenue Baltimore, Maryland
Senior Pastor: Rev. Dr. Bowyer G. Freeman

Guest Speaker: Andre E. Johnson, University of Memphis