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Autobiography as political resistance: Anne Moody's Coming of age in Mississippi

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ABSTRACT This dissertation focuses on Anne Moody's use of the autobiographical genre as an extension of her political activism. Noting consistent values and conventions that govern the writing of political activists, this study asserts that Moody's narrative is best situated

ABSTRACT This dissertation focuses on Anne Moody's use of the autobiographical genre as an extension of her political activism. Noting consistent values and conventions that govern the writing of political activists, this study asserts that Moody's narrative is best situated in the genre of political autobiography--a term coined by Angela Davis. Using Margo V. Perkins' text as a base to define autobiography as activism, this dissertation illustrates the consistent values that characterize Moody's narrative as political autobiography, resistance literature, and ultimately Black Power literature. Building on the works of Joanne Braxton, Patricia Hill Collins, Angela Davis, Elizabeth Fox-Genovese, bell hooks, Margo V. Perkins, Assata Shakur, and Johnny Stover, this project demonstrates the use of Moody's autobiography as a collective form of resistance that is reflective of autobiography as activism. To frame its argument, this study theorizes how one comes into revolutionary consciousness, demonstrating the move toward activism as a process. Drawing on Sidonie Smith and Julia Watson's autobiographical theory that the "narrated I" is distinguished from the "narrating I," this study asserts, as Francoise Lionnet suggests, that the "narrating I" is the vehicle to deliver recollections relevant to the autobiographer's agenda. This study emphasizes that the early version of the self Moody creates is consciously linked to her role as a future activist, ultimately demonstrating her political evolution through the emphatic linking of the personal and political. Most importantly, this dissertation demonstrates that Moody's text represents a continuity--an autobiographical bridge--between representations of the Christian nonviolent civil rights movement and the Black Power movement of the late 1960's. This study argues that Moody's autobiography is ideologically poised at the intersection of civil rights and Black Power; therefore, it serves as both a civil rights autobiography and a Black Power autobiography. Coming of Age in Mississippi offers a unique contribution to the genre of Black Power autobiography for the way it facilitates unprecedented insight into the transition from non-violent civil rights ideology to revolutionary consciousness.

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Date Created
2011

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The U.S. public school system and the implications of budget cuts, the teacher shortage crisis, and large class sizes on marginalized students

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ABSTRACT

This study of the policies of the U.S. public school system focuses on state and federal funding to examine how budget cuts, the teacher shortage crisis, and large classroom sizes are interrelated. A qualitative method of approaching these issues and

ABSTRACT

This study of the policies of the U.S. public school system focuses on state and federal funding to examine how budget cuts, the teacher shortage crisis, and large classroom sizes are interrelated. A qualitative method of approaching these issues and a meta-analysis of the findings, combined with my personal experience as a high school English teacher in the public school system points to a ripple effect where one problem is the result of the one before it. Solutions suggested in this study are made with the intention to support all U.S. public school students with an emphasis on students with special needs, English language learners, and students from low-income families. My findings show that marginalized students in U.S. public schools are experiencing a form of education injustice. This study highlights the burden placed upon the states to fund education and asserts that qualified professionals are increasingly difficult to recruit while teacher attrition rates continue to grow. The changing teacher-to-student ratio means students enjoy one-on-on time with teachers less often due to overcrowded classrooms. The interrelationship of these issues requires a multifaceted approach to solving them, beginning with a demand for more federal funding which will allow previously cut programs to be reinstated, incentives to recruit and retain highly qualified teachers which will reduce classroom sizes, and implementation of new programs targeted to ensure the success of students with special needs, English language learners, and students from low-income families.

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Date Created
2018

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The African American apocalyptic as prophetic social protest

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This study provides a rhetorical analysis of how Black nationalist protest rhetors have employed apocalyptic discourse in order to call into question the ideological underpinnings of the hegemonic white American nation building project and to imagine new alternatives to replace

This study provides a rhetorical analysis of how Black nationalist protest rhetors have employed apocalyptic discourse in order to call into question the ideological underpinnings of the hegemonic white American nation building project and to imagine new alternatives to replace them. Previous studies by Howard-Pitney (2005), Harrell (2011), and Murphy (2009) have explored how African American abolitionist and civil rights jeremiahs such as Frederick Douglass and Martin Luther King, Jr. have employed appeals to American civil religion in order to mobilize their audiences to seek liberal reforms to racial injustices by appealing to established values and institutions. While apocalyptic rhetoric also constructs its audience as a chosen people, it tends to take a much more skeptical stance toward the established social order. African American apocalypticists such as David Walker, Malcolm X, and the Black Panther Party rejected the notion of American chosenness that underpins much Black and white American jeremiadic speech, and employed a Burkean perspective by incongruity in order to draw attention to the inaccuracy of white supremacist and American exceptionalist representations of the social world. The end result of this history is the nation's imminent destruction, which has been envisioned as a divine intervention in the case of traditional sacred apocalyptics, such as David Walker or the early Malcolm X, or as a revolutionary uprising of the oppressed, as in the secular apocalyptics of the later Malcolm X and the Black Panther Party. African American apocalyptic rhetoric is prophetic in that it invokes a vision of the national past, present, and future defined by a set of values that are at odds with those of the established social order. African American apocalypticism invites its audience to disidentify themselves from hegemonic white American formulations of Black and white identities and to identify themselves instead with radical alternatives. To the extent that an audience is persuaded by apocalyptic narratives of the American nation, new possibilities for action become available to their consciousness, typically involving either withdrawal from a corrupt society or militant resistance involving measures more radical than the nonviolent direct action and moral suasion advocated by liberal African American jeremiahs.

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Date Created
2016