Remembering crispus attucks: Race, rhetoric, and the politics of commemoration

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The symbolic career of Crispus Attucks provides a disturbing lesson in the politics of commemoration. This essay examines a complex process of rhetorical expropriation, whereby the rhetorical weight of the revolutionary hero was shifted from its origins in African American traditions of resistance onto grounds of racial accomodation. The work of public memory required to fund, build, and present the Crispus Attucks Memorial is treated here as evidence for the claim that people not only remember, but get remembered, and that under conditions of historical inequality, getting remembered must take on a politics of its own.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-187
Number of pages19
JournalQuarterly Journal of Speech
Issue number2
StatePublished - May 1 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Communication
  • Language and Linguistics
  • Education


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