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Title:Women speaking in and for institutions: a rhetorical history of the politics of respectability in Black Chicago, 1919 - 1939
Author(s):Mixon, Anita
Director of Research:Finnegan, Cara A.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Finnegan, Cara A.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Murphy, John M.; Cisneros, Josue D.; Bailey, Ronald W.
Department / Program:Communication
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Black women
Abstract:Institutions have been vital to the survival and uplift of Black communities. To that end, this dissertation analyzes how Black women -- as economic agents and women of faith -- used rhetoric within institutions to advocate and uplift their enclaved communities. Specifically, my dissertation explores how Black women used the discourse of labor unions and the Black Church to promote their enclaved communities in Black Chicago from 1919 to 1939. Black women often shouldered the work to help a community thrive and, while they may not be the public face of Black communities, their productivity in Black churches and labor unions challenges the male-centric narrative that Black men are more harmed by oppressive and discriminatory practices and, therefore, are in greater need of community initiatives, legislation, and protection. Through a rhetorical analysis of institutional documents from two labor unions and two Black churches that span across 20 years - including the boiling over of racial tensions, height of Black entrepreneurship, and the Great Depression - I demonstrate how Black women, both constrained and enabled by politics of respectability, worked as economic agents in defense of their labor/in advocating for greater economic equity for Black folk. My focus on the lived experiences of Black, urban Midwestern women thickens our understanding of concepts like institutions, community, identity-formation, civil rights, and citizenship.
Issue Date:2017-06-23
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 Anita Mixon
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08

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