Rhetorical Analysis Of George Wallace's Speech

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When the Civil Rights Movement circulated into southern United States in the 1960s, many white southerners felt threatened by the social change of dismantling Jim Crow—state and local laws imposing racial segregation. The 1960s Birmingham, Alabama was one of America’s most racially discriminatory and segregated cities in the nation, in which the slight notion of racial integration of any form was met with violent resistance. In the midst of racial havoc, a unanimous decision was made to brand Birmingham as the focal point to aid the civil rights movement because the city was fueled on hatred and impulsive public officials including George Wallace (Alabama Governor), Eugene Connors (Director of Public Safety), and deputy sheriff (James Hancock).…show more content…
In a single but powerful phrase he states, "segregation now, segregation tomorrow and segregation forever.”1 The words in his speech and its delivery are synchronized to convey hatred, throughout the speech, Wallace is shown shaking his fist to round up rallying cries of support. While a governor is supposed to oversee the common welfare of its people, Wallace’s demeaning message expresses that African Americans are less worthy of respect, which unfortunately reflects the opinions of many white southerners during this time. Many white southerners viewed African Americans demands for racial equality as a threat to their social, economic, and political order. It consequently led to white southerners to view George Wallace as an answer to end their fears. In an audio diary, James Poe Jr., a former student civil right activist recalls that violence immediately followed Wallace’s speech. Poe states, “We began to feel the sting of the speech. People night-riding and burning crosses. The police beat down people and ran over them with horses, put tear gas on them."2 At the time of his election, Alabama Governor George Wallace was a leading antagonist of desegregation, which was used as a tool to gain political
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