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Martin Luther King and the Rhetoric of Freedom


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Table of Contents

  • Preface
  • Introduction
  • 1 Rhetoric and Social Movements
  • 2 Let My People Go: The Exodus in African American Cultural History
  • 3 The Red Sea Has Opened: King's ""Death of Evil on the Seashore"" Sermon
  • 4 Broken Aloose from Egypt: The Exodus in King's Montgomery Bus Boycott Rhetoric
  • 5 Reaching Out for Canaan: King's ""Birth of a New Nation"" Sermon
  • 6 I've Been to the Mountaintop: King as the Movement's Moses
  • 7 Keep the Movement Moving: The Birmingham Protest
  • Conclusion
  • Notes
  • Bibliography
  • Index

About the Author

Gary S. Selby is the Blanche E. Seaver Professor of Communication at Seaver College, Pepperdine University.


This book surprises the reader with discoveries that make its theme come alive with a renewed appreciation for how rhetorical subjects are embedded inextricably in the human experience. The writing is simple, clear, engaging, and often even exciting. Gary Selby helps us to grasp the power of rhetoric as a lived, experienced phenomenon. His work draws out King's use of Exodus in a manner that provides unsuspected depth of meaning and understanding. Michael Osborn, University of Memphis, Professor Emeritus, Department of Communication

Selby provides an extended rhetorical analysis of how the Exodus narrative informed the Civil Rights Movement, particularly as the narrative was voiced in the rhetoric of Martin Luther King Jr... Recommended. -- CHOICE

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