Abstract

This essay considers civil rights mass meetings as rhetorical events that operated with doubled purpose. Surveying three 1960s civil rights scenes, the study reveals how meetings provided spaces to recharge and regroup at the same time that they functioned as sites for countermovement engagement. Centering attention on this fluid movement among purposes offers insights into strategies activists devised for double-voicing. For the speakers and meetings analyzed here, metonymy, parrhesia, and religious reframing provided rhetors with modes for exploiting outsiders’ presence at these events while continuing to use the meeting for their own ends.

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