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 Prophetic Legacy of the Civil Rights Movement, 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. ""I am excited to see David Holmes's work on civil rights oratory in print. Not only does Holmes recover rare texts, but additionally he refocuses our understanding on the political elements and impact of African American prophetic speech."" --Patricia Bizzell, College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Massachusetts, co-author of The Rhetorical Tradition: Readings from Classical Times to the Present. ""David Holmes takes his reader deep inside Project C, perhaps the most important civil rights campaign of the twentieth century. With great dexterity Holmes demonstrates the rhetorical artistry of key movement speakers as they locked horns with Eugene 'Bull' Connor and the Magic City. A much-needed thickening, and thus revisioning, of our standard accounts."" --Davis W. Houck, Florida State University David G. Holmes is Professor of English and Rhetoric at Pepperdine University. The author of Revisiting Racialized Voice (2004), he is a frequent presenter at national conferences and has published articles in Rhetoric Review, College English, Black Camera, Journal of Black Studies, and Journal of Communication and Religion.
About the Author
David G. Holmes is Professor of English and Rhetoric at Pepperdine University. The author of Revisiting Racialized Voice (2004), he is a frequent presenter at national conferences and has published articles in Rhetoric Review, College English, Black Camera, Journal of Black Studies, and Journal of Communication and Religion.
Keith D. Miller is professor of English at Arizona State University. He is the author of Voice of Deliverance: The Language of Martin Luther King Jr. and Its Sources.