Dr. T. R. M. Howard’s biography appears in the introduction to his October 2, 1955 speech in Baltimore, Maryland.
In this speech before a northern NAACP audience, which had something of an uneasy relationship with the RCNL, Howard demonstrates his considerable rhetorical skill. Known as a captivating orator, Howard’s chief weapon is in demonstrating the hypocrisy of American democratic theory and American democratic practice. And yet, as Howard notes, “we have not lost faith in our American democracy. The fact that there has been no violence on the part of Negroes in Mississippi in retaliation for the violence heaped upon us is everlasting proof that the religion of Jesus the Christ and American democracy has done more for the Negro in Mississippi than it has done for our White brother.” Howard and his Mississippi supporters were willing to believe in America’s civil religion—even if southern whites were not.
Part of Howard’s rhetorical mission before a northern audience is also to raise awareness of Mississippi’s racial violence and the legislative mechanics of statesponsored racism. The former involved the under-publicized murders of Reverend George W. Lee of Belzoni and Lamar Smith of Brookhaven; far more knew about the Emmett Till murder and trial. The latter was ably illustrated by absurd voter
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Publication information: Book title: Rhetoric, Religion and the Civil Rights Movement, 1954-1965. Contributors: Davis W. Houck - Editor, David E. Dixon - Editor. Publisher: Baylor University Press. Place of publication: Waco, TX. Publication year: 2006. Page number: 192.
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