This study features the activist rhetoric of early African American clergyman Richard Allen. Through chronological analyses of four late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century texts, we explore how Allen establishes individual and corporate agency and furthers an African American community consciousness. Allen's rhetoric, we argue, demonstrates the ways material and rhetorical opportunities affect textual production that, in turn, enables freedom and community to emerge. Paying particular attention to the strategy of the narrative account, we demonstrate how Allen's advocacy, which both works within and challenges the limitations imposed by white society, reflects and develops his identity as a black community leader.

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