Forget the Master’s Tools, We Will Build Our Own House: The Woman’s Era as a Rhetorical Forum for the Invention of African American Womanhood

Forget the Master’s Tools, We Will Build Our Own House: The Woman’s Era as a Rhetorical Forum for the Invention of African American Womanhood

Peitho Volume 18 Issue 2 Spring/Summer 2016

Author(s): Katherine Fredlund

Abstract: While many scholars (Logan; Gere; McHenry; Royster) have discussed the Woman’s Era (1894-1897), this article adds to this research by revisiting the periodical as a single text (composed of years of articles and arguments) and as an example of rhetorical invention. By rethinking invention, this article argues that this aspect of the rhetorical canon can be understood not only as an act that helps create a text but also as something a text can do. In order to illustrate how the first publication by and for African American women invented their own vision of African American womanhood, this article looks specifically at the editors and contributors use of rhetorical methods of response and epideictic rhetoric as well as their creation of a formal communication network that connected thousands of women from across the country.

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