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Carla L. Peterson is a professor in the department of English at the University of Maryland, and affiliate faculty of the Women's Studies and American Studies departments as well as the Afro-American Studies Program. She is the author of "Doers of the Word": African-American Women Speakers and Writers in the North (1830-1880). Peterson has also published numerous essays on nineteenth-century African-American literature and literary history. Her current project, Family History in Public Places, is a social and cultural history of African-American life in nineteenth-century New York City as seen through the lens of family history.


Sojourner Truth:
"Children, I talks to God and God talks to me . . ."
[read speech excerpt]

Frances Watkins Harper:
"But a few months since, a man escaped from bondage and found a
temporary shelter . . ."
[read speech excerpt ]

What struck you the first time you read this Sojourner Truth speech?

What struck you the first time you read this Francis Watkins Harper speech?

What kinds of questions should you ask when analyzing speeches?

What advice would you give students on analyzing speeches?

How would you move beyond the actual text in analyzing a speech?

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