Publications

Publications

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“From ‘Dead Wrong’ to Civil Rights History: The Durham ‘Royal Seven,’ Martin Luther King’s 1960 ‘Fill Up the Jails’ Speech, and the Rhetoric of Visibility”

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Summary: This chapter focuses on an early example of direct action (a sit - in at the Royal Ice Cream Company in Durham, NC in June of 1957) led by Rev erend Douglas Moore. Despite the fact that Moore picked an ice cream parlor located in the middle of the black commu nity, and despite his connections to Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this initial attempt at a sit - in campaign i n North Carolina was thwarted and Moore and his companions were given scant support by the local black community after their arrest. Yet, as we wil l demonstrate, the actions of the “Royal Seven ” functioned rhetorically to make visible public knowledge about the conditions of life in the segregated South and to illustrate the moral challenges facing its citizens. The far - reaching rhetorical consequence of this groundbreaking attempt at direct action may be seen , we argue, in King’s Durham speech in February of 1960, in which Dr. Kin g , at Moore’s invitation, first endorses sit - ins and other forms of direct action. Th e chapter describes and analyzes this initial attempt to visibly provoke new ways of thinking about the nature of democratic citizenship, illuminating the causes and implications of its initial less - than - positive reception and its actual consequence .

Full Citation: Gallagher, Victoria J., Zagacki, K., and Swift, J. “From ‘Dead Wrong’ to Civil Rights History: The Durham ‘Royal Seven,’ Martin Luther King’s 1960 ‘Fill Up the Jails’ Speech, and the Rhetoric of Visibility,” in Like a Fire: The Rhetoric of the Civil Rights Sit­Ins. Edited by Sean Patrick O’Rourke and Lesli K. Pace. University of South Carolina Press.