Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Andre Johnson

Committee Member

Christi Moss

Committee Member

Gray Matthews

Committee Member

Beverly Bond


This dissertation examines the various rhetorical tactics of the African American Prophetic Tradition of the nineteenth century, specifically those utilized in the prophetic call narratives of Maria Stewart, Nat Turner, Julia Foote, and Richard Allen. These figures anchor their larger prophetic messages in the claim that God has called them to the prophetic task. This rhetoric of calling assumes that God still speaks, and that God’s speaking matters to local communities under the thumb of racial and gendered oppression. Moreover, the rhetoric of calling assumes that God’s speaking has material (not just spiritual) effect in the world, and that God has spoken through them to criticize systems of oppression and energize resistance. Through the prophetic call narratives of these four figures, communication scholars can glimpse the unique rhetorical contributions the African American Prophetic Tradition makes to American oratory, storytelling, ethics, and protest. These figures invite us to move beyond simplistic, folkish stereotypes of nineteenth-century Black preachers to see that they exercised sophisticated and thoughtful engagements with, indeed, embodiments of the biblical text and the “text” of the world around them.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access