Rhetoric and Identity in James Baldwin’s Revolution
Davis W. Houck
Despite the proliferation of interest in James Baldwin across popular culture and the
academy, few, if any, critical studies of his public oratory have been conducted. This is
unfortunate and ironic—unfortunate because Baldwin was a marvelous orator, and ironic in
that his preferred solution to what ailed whites and blacks as the Civil Rights movement
unfolded was thoroughly rhetorical. That is, Baldwin’s racial rhetorical revolution
involved a re-valuing of the historical evidence used to keep blacks enslaved both
mentally and physically across countless generations. Moreover, for Baldwin the act of
naming functions to chain both whites and blacks to a version of American history
psychologically damaging to both. Three speeches that Baldwin delivered in 1963 amid the
crucible of civil rights protest illustrate these claims.
Corporations, Celebrities and the Construction of the Entrepreneurial
Annika Bergman Rosamond and Catia Gregoratti
’, in Hamilton ,
Shepherd , L.
Understanding PopularCulture and World Politics in the Digital
Age ( Abingdon :
Routledge ), pp.
101 – 18 .
Bergman Rosamond ,
( 2020a ), ‘ Celebrity Global Motherhood:
Maternal Care and