Electronic Theses and Dissertations



Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Christina Moss

Committee Member

Andre Johnson

Committee Member

Marina Levina

Committee Member

Derefe K Chevannes


Black women need refuge from physical, mental, emotional and rhetorical violence. However, refuge that does not foster liberation can never offer the full protection of sanctuary. Black women uniquely understand that the only way to ensure full access to sanctuary is by circumventing place. Yet, people and scholarly disciplines overlook their valuable, experiential awareness of place. This dissertation takes an intersectional approach to place by analyzing Black women’s contributions to the rich rhetorical tradition. When we look to the past for guidance, it is easy to see Black women’s struggles are not bound by place or time. An analysis of rhetorical artifacts from formerly enslaved, Black women of the 19th century helps us recover, recenter, and reimagine Black women’s complex relationship with place. Black women’s texts teach us that accessing sanctuary means rupturing tradition and rupturing theory that does not speak to their experiences with place. This rupture (or rather disrupture) ushers in place’s decolonization. I interrogate the work of Anna Julia Cooper, Sojourner Truth and Hannah Crafts to uncover the ways voice, visual texts, and writing function as rhetorical gateways to sanctuary. An analysis of texts by these Black feminist matriarchs helps us identify the rhetoric of sanctuary borne out of an intersectional, decolonized approach to place.


Data is provided by the student

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to ProQuest.


Open Access