African American Responses to American Presidential Inaugural Addresses: Counterpoint to Rhetorical Traditions

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Examines presidential inaugural speeches, during the Civil Rights and Black Power era, from the Kennedy administration to President Lyndon Baines Johnson, to prove that, most times, this type of speech is little more than epideictic formality in regard to black interests, and, perhaps, the initial step in an administration’s disregard for the concerns of African Americans—or the first indication that an administration is ensnared in a dilemma of catering solely to white American interests. Correspondingly, the book explores the theory that African American leaders’ speeches attempt to respond to Presidential inaugural addresses.


“. . . a moving, insightful, and incisive analysis of the rhetoric in presidential inaugural speeches and prominent African American leaders.”
– Prof. William Cowell, Stanford University

“[The author] shows how Martin Luther King’s “I?Have a Dream” speech influenced President Kennedy and how Malcom X’s “Message to the Grass Roots” anticipates Johnson’s inaugural address.”
– Prof. Lisa Brevard,
Walden University

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