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This essay explores the rhetorical performance of W. E. B. Du Bois during the Harlem Renaissance as he cultivates the conditions favorable to an "authentic" African American public voice. I argue that Du Bois's rhetoric accomplishes three tasks: First, it calls into being the features of "Negro Art." Second, it associates black art with a public voice and posits the black public voice as a mode of mediation between the opposing constraints of "pure art" and "propaganda." This mediation creates a space for public dialogue about race, culture, and society. Lastly, it proposes a rational role for the norms and values of black culture in the public deliberation of American civic life.