Electronic Theses and Dissertations





Document Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy



Committee Chair

Sandra J. Sarkela

Committee Member

Antonio de Velasco

Committee Member

Gray Matthews

Committee Member

Ladrica Menson-Furr


Cultural hybridity is most prevalently revealed in cultures where racism starkly exists, according to Homi K. Bhabba. The Jim Crow culture if the South during the Civil Rights Movement was one such culture. To Bhabba, a hybridized racial identity emerges when two polarized cultures are thrown together. I alter his perspective by arguing that a hybridized rhetoric of protest emerged in the South before and during the Civil Rights Movement, as evinced by the freedom faith expressions of activist, womanist, professor, lecturer, and preacher Prathia L. Hall (1940-2002). Hall first coined the phrase, freedom faith, in 1997, but described it as early as 1965 as she witnessedthe courage and resilience of local Black residentsandtheir supporters in the Deep South in theirfight against racial oppression. Hall believed that thesefreedom fighters' abilityto blend their longing for freedom with their Christian faith was the force that kept them in the struggle. In this project, I demonstrate how a rhetoric of protest (freedom faith) was created from this hybridization by analyzing the exigency, audience, and constraints of the situation and Hall's and others' responses to them. Thus, I advance my argument for freedom faith rhetoric as verbal or non-verbal responses to those oppressive situations that placed the lives and/or livelihoods of Black activists in the South and their supporters at risk before and during the Civil Rights Era. By uncovering ten and transcribing nine unpublished speeches of Hall and analyzing three of them in this work for evidence of freedom faith rhetoric after she left the Movement, I demonstrate her use of such rhetorical devices and tropes as example, mytho-logical appeal, temporality, repetition, and double-voicedness, a component of Bakhtin's hybridity theory. This justifies my identification of Hall as a significant rhetorical figure of the Civil Rights Era and beyond. Further, my recovery of the speeches makes it possible for me to achieve the final goal of this undertaking, the recovery of Hall's voice.


Data is provided by the student.

Library Comment

Dissertation or thesis originally submitted to the local University of Memphis Electronic Theses & dissertation (ETD) Repository.