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Sacred Rhetoric And The African-American Civic Sermon

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Chapter Summary

An African-American civic sermon is a refined form of communication that attracts literate classes who recognize oppression as an opponent to equality. For many rhetors, this may restrict the use of the form because it requires high levels of literacy in Western political-religious values. Still, an African-American civic sermon is a mastery of using secular and sacred symbols. Another set-piece is references to the Declaration of Independence and other secular-sacred symbols. Because those symbols are an important part of American identity, orators of African-American civic sermons use them to persuade for a sense of harmony and equality for all American citizens. Traditional biblical doctrines are not necessarily a primary focus for the rhetors of this sermon style.

Keywords: African-american Civic Sermon; Gardner Calvin Taylor; Martin Luther King; rhetors



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