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Title:James E. Shepard, the man and his message: a context-sensitive, discourse analysis of ‘God Bless Old North Carolina'
Author(s):Velez, LaTesha M
Director of Research:La Barre, Kathryn
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Smith, Linda
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Harris, Dianne; Noble, Safiya
Department / Program:Information Sciences
Discipline:Library & Information Science
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Shepard, James E.
Black education
Historically black colleges and universities (HBCU)
Critical discourse analysis
Critical race theory
Bourdieu, Pierre
Abstract:My research is a historical analysis of information in society that focuses on the radio address “God Bless Old North Carolina” that James E. Shepard, president and founder of the North Carolina College for Negroes (NCCN), presented in 1934. The socio-historical forces that preceded the current information environment in the United States are often researched from a Eurocentric or United States white, middle-class male perspective . When other races, classes or genders are mentioned, the typical line of inquiry still centralizes the white, European, heterosexual male viewpoint. My dissertation focuses on a little known historical figure who is one of the few African American men at the advent of institutions of higher education for blacks who was both president and founder of a university in the South during the early decades of the 20th Century and will contribute to the burgeoning body of work applying critical race theory to library and information science (LIS) history. Reorienting LIS history and using critical theories to study underrepresented populations will help to shed light on recurrent, institutionalized forms of racism still present in LIS systems today. The first step to reversing the detrimental effects of institutionalized racism within LIS is recognizing that it exists. Next, determining antecedents can help shed light on how institutional patterns are reproduced. The social forces that should be foregrounded are those that structurally uphold and reproduce white privilege and include capitalism and the educational system — the idealized versions and actual practice. This dissertation uses the theories of Pierre Bourdieu and critical race theory to explore the symbolic power held by James E. Shepard and how he wielded that power as a thought leader in Durham, North Carolina. The methodology uses historical context-sensitive discourse-historical analysis and considers Shepard’s text within the socio-historical context of Jim Crow laws, the rise and fall of The New South, and The Great Depression and makes considerable use of archival material in an attempt to answer the following research questions: 1. What discursive strategies did James E. Shepard use to influence public opinion regarding the North Carolina College for Negroes (NCCN) specifically and education for the black people of Durham generally? 2. How did he interpret his role in the black community in Durham and how did he represent this interpretation when giving a public address? 3. How did Shepard represent the attitudes of the black population in Durham, NC? 4. What rhetorical strategies did he employ when speaking to audiences that potentially included white and black listeners? I conclude that James E. Shepard employed very specific, consistent and strategic discursive strategies whenever he spoke publicly about what would come to be known as North Carolina Central University. He often spoke to audiences that were racially mixed but typically from North Carolina. Accordingly, Shepard chose a largely politically non-confrontational strategy. Shepard’s messages were perfectly pitched for southern audiences as he incorporated deep pride in the South into most of his speeches. He emphasized black people's love of North Carolina and desire to stay in the area as well as whites’ need for blacks to stay but he did so in a way that maintained the social stratification of the races. Shepard used the discursive strategies of mitigation, the referential strategies of predication and perspectivation and the argumentative strategies of argumentum ad verecundiam and argumentum ad populum to couch his desires for enhanced support for black higher education institutions in ways palatable to a white audience.
Issue Date:2017-07-11
Rights Information:Copyright 2017 LaTesha Velez
Date Available in IDEALS:2017-09-29
Date Deposited:2017-08

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