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Author: Philip Sheldon Foner
Category: Social Science
This comprehensive anthology will be the standard source for the study of African American public address for years to come. For Americans of the 19th century, as W. E. B. Du Bois observed, eloquent speeches were 'the shining lights of civilization' that both expressed and sought to improve the lives and communities from which they sprang. Through political speeches, sermons, lectures, oral testimonies, and ceremonial addresses, African Americans offered diverse responses to the issues and events of their times, including not only slavery and racial equality but also women's rights, education, religion, immigration, socialism, war, Indian policy, and labor organization, among others. The speeches in this collection are among the most powerful expressions of African American opinions on these issues and were delivered on occasions and before audiences where the speakers believed their words might be transformative. "Lift Every Voice" is a completely revised, updated, and expanded version of Philip Foner's 1972 classic Voice of Black America, which Library Journal hailed as "indispensable.""This well-edited and richly inclusive work," wrote Benjamin Quarles, "unveils the full sweep of Black expression as found in platform addresses" by "men and women who join eloquence with reason in articulating their grievances and their aspirations and in arousing their listeners with their ringing and prophetic challenges." This new collection includes over 60 additional texts and revised and expanded introductory essays that provide historical, biographical, and critical information for each speech. Containing more than 150 speeches, this anthology represents the most extensive and diverse collection of African American oratory of the 18th and 19th centuries ever published. "Lift Every Voice" makes readily accessible not only the classic orations of such well-known figures as Frederick Douglass, Sojourner Truth, and Booker T. Washington but also dozens of lesser-known but important speeches deserving greater recognition and study. Many of these speeches are previously unpublished, uncollected, or long out of print.