Rhetoric & Public Affairs

Rhetoric & Public Affairs
Volume 8, Number 2, Summer 2005
Special Issue: 50 Years Later: Emmett Till, Rosa Parks, and Martin Luther King Jr.
Guest Editor: Davis W. Houck

CONTENTS

Articles

    Hendrickson, Paul, 1944-
  • Mississippi Haunting
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Till, Emmett, 1941-1955 -- Death and burial.
    • Murder -- Mississippi.
    • Trials (Murder) -- Mississippi.
    • Southern States -- Race relations.
    Whitaker, Hugh Stephen.
  • A Case Study in Southern Justice: The Murder and Trial of Emmett Till
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Till, Emmett, 1941-1955 -- Death and burial.
    • Murder -- Mississippi.
    • Trials (Murder) -- Mississippi.
    • Southern States -- Race relations.
    Abstract:
      Using personal interviews conducted with jurors, law enforcement officials, lawyers, and other people involved with the trial of Emmett Till, this essay argues that a guilty verdict in the case was a foregone conclusion. Despite evidence that the body discovered in the Tallahatchie River was in fact that of Emmett Till, local Mississippians rallied around Roy Bryant and J .W. Milam. In addition, personal interviews suggest that two black men were purposefully hidden in a local Charleston, Mississippi, jail in order to limit the prosecution's case.
    Houck, Davis W.
  • Killing Emmett
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Till, Emmett, 1941-1955 -- Death and burial.
    • Murder -- Mississippi -- Press coverage.
    • Trials (Murder) -- Mississippi -- Press coverage.
    Abstract:
      Mississippi newspapers were fundamental to creating a climate of public opinion that enabled Roy Bryant and J. W. Milam to go free in the trial of Emmett Till. Using newspaper stories, photographs, letters to the editor, and editorials from nine different Mississippi newspapers, I argue that themes of race, gender, class, and sexuality are pivotal to understanding the construction of key players in the trial. In addition, published comments by Roy Wilkins of the NAACP and Till's mother, Mamie Till Bradley, greatly altered the discursive landscape, transforming Emmett Till from an innocent boy into a menacing male. Similarly, Bryant and Milam morphed from local peckerwoods to heroic defenders of the country generally and Southern white womanhood particularly.
    Harold, Christine
    DeLuca, Kevin Michael.
  • Behold the Corpse: Violent Images and the Case of Emmett Till
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Till, Emmett, 1941-1955 -- Death and burial.
    • Murder -- Mississippi.
    • Postmortem photography.
    Abstract:
      The widely disseminated image of Emmett Till's mutilated corpse rhetorically transformed the lynched black body from a symbol of unmitigated white power to one illustrating the ugliness of racial violence and the aggregate power of the black community. This reconfiguration was, in part, an effect of the black community's embracing and foregrounding Till's abject body as a collective "souvenir" rather than allowing it to be safely exiled from public life.
    Hendrickson, Paul, 1944-
  • The Ladies Before Rosa: Let Us Now Praise Unfamous Women
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • African American women -- Alabama -- Montgomery.
    • Montgomery (Ala.) -- Race relations.
    Wilson, Kirt H., 1967-
  • Interpreting the Discursive Field of the Montgomery Bus Boycott: Martin Luther King Jr.'s Holt Street Address
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr., 1929-1968 -- Language.
    • Rhetoric -- Political aspects -- United States.
    • Civil rights movements -- Montgomery -- Alabama.
    Abstract:
      Widely recognized for its historical significance, the Montgomery bus boycott is understudied as a rhetorical phenomenon. This essay analyzes the protest's first oration, King's Holt Street Address, arguing that the text interacts with a rich discursive field, interprets that field to unify the black community and constrain its modes of protest, and anticipates a metaphysical foundation in King's philosophy of nonviolence. Although King's "interpretive persuasion" was instrumental in the boycott's success, it also effaced the protest's gender and class tensions.

Review Essay

    Kurtz, Jeffrey B.
  • Bearing Witness Still: Recovering the Language and the Lives that Made the Civil Rights Movement Move
    [Access article in HTML] [Access article in PDF]
    Subject Headings:
    • Till-Mobley, Mamie, d. 2003. Death of innocence: the story of a hate crime that changed America.
    • Benson, Chris, 1953-
    • Hansen, Drew D. Dream: Martin Luther King, Jr., and the speech that inspired a nation.
    • Ransby, Barbara. Ella Baker and the Black freedom movement: a radical democratic vision.
    • D'Emilio, John. Lost prophet: the life and times of Bayard Rustin.
    • Bobbitt, David A., 1953- Rhetoric of redemption: Kenneth Burke's redemption drama and Martin Luther King, Jr.'s "I have a dream" speech.
    • Sunnemark, Fredrik. Ring out freedom!: the voice of Martin Luther King, Jr. and the making of the civil rights movement.
    • Burns, Stewart. To the mountaintop: Martin Luther King, Jr.'s sacred mission to save America, 1955-1968.
    • Till, Emmett, 1941-1955 -- Death and burial.
    • King, Martin Luther, Jr. 1929-1968.



[Project MUSE] [Search Page] [Journals] [Journal Directory] [Top]