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First Advisor

Bernard Brock


This study investigates methods of rhetorical criticism used to analyze the rhetoric of African American women. The work examines how African American women use rhetoric to live in a hostile world. The coping strategies derived from the rhetoric are examined, as well as the way the rhetoric is used to build and maintain identity. The study examines artifacts created by and for African American women using both the Afrocentric and Feminist criticism methods. While these methods are often utilized to analyze rhetoric of this nature, this study highlights the inadequacies of each in terms of artifacts generated specifically by and for African American women. Womanist philosophy is examined and then synthesized in order to develop an alternative methodology. This synthesized methodology is a more adequate tool to investigate the aforementioned rhetorical artifacts. This investigation leads to an effective methodology to explore the true essence of the artifacts; the coping skills generated, and the identity creation capabilities.

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