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entitled What it Means to be Colored in the Capital of the U.S. at the United Women’s Club, expressing her views about what was happening then. In this speech, Terrell used Aristotelian forensic rhetoric to present her version of injustice towards colored people in order to increase awareness to their rights and to acquire them. According to Aristotle, forensic rhetoric uses facts to attack or defend, making the audience a judge of what has been done in the past. In Terrell’s speech, she talks about various challenges she has been through as a colored woman and the experiences of others as well in order to show the injustices committed against colored men. She begins with the instances that happened to her or those which she observed and considered to be most possible in her condition as a Black woman. She mentions that there is no other race treated as the Blacks, who may walk the streets to the White House without being fed or accepted in a house, hotel or restaurant. She exposes that even if one has money to buy food or pay for a decent room to stay for the night, if that person is Black, he would not be entertained at all. In a rather ironic tone, Terell points out that even if she were to enter the house of God where color and culture should not be a problem or where love and equality should be most evident, she, as a colored person, would not be given a welcoming reception as expected. This shows that even the very persons who proclaim equality and love, can be void of what they preach when it comes to colored people and the speaker considers this as an injustice. Concerning work, America has always been perceived as a land of promise because of its vast lands and various opportunities. However, to the Blacks, it is not so. According to Terell, there are many able and qualified Black men and women who are highly qualified to do white collar jobs. Nevertheless, color seems to be a hindrance to them. The writer speaks further about this issue by presenting the experience of a young woman who was a rising literary star. She applied to work as stenographer at a company and proving herself to be the best candidate for the job; she was invited in for the interview. Contrary to what the young Black woman expected, she was not given the job because of her color and instead, she was advised to do menial work as that is what the society expects from colored people. Such are the facts Terrell knew about a colored man’s life which she expressed in a compelling manner. “Her speech isn't as long as others, but it is effective in getting her message across, that there is an abundance of prejudice in America” (Johnston, 2001). She did not merely state examples of injustices that happened to her or a handful of her people but includes the whole community of Black people regardless of their economic status, religion, education and views. Terell used the Association theory by expounding on a specific experience of one person before proceeding to include others in her discussion. For instance, after mentioning the highly qualified applicant who was not given the job of a stenographer, she goes on to speak on a general note, including all the colored women in her discussion of employment opportunities. She says that Black women are not given the fair chance to get employment ...Show more


Rhetoric Criticism on Mary Church Terrell’s Speech Racial discrimination has always been a social issue and in America, the predicament became more prevalent towards the turn of the 20th century. Black people suffered multifarious unfair treatments which led them to fight for their rights, finally gaining the confidence to face difficulties and even death in the midst of their struggles if only to give their children a better future…
Author : kevonvon
Rhetoric Criticism
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