Date on Master's Thesis/Doctoral Dissertation


Document Type

Doctoral Dissertation

Degree Name

Ph. D.



Degree Program

English Rhetoric and Composition, PhD

Committee Chair

Schneider, Stephen A.

Committee Co-Chair (if applicable)

Williams, Bronwyn T.

Committee Member

Williams, Bronwyn T.

Committee Member

Ryan, Susan M.

Committee Member

Brydon-Miller, Mary

Author's Keywords

literacy; sponsorship; civil rights; alternative histories


This dissertation presents literacy sponsorship as a narrative framework that complicates the history of black struggles surrounding educational equity as a civil rights issue. While that history has traditionally been framed as a fight for black access to and participation in white-sponsored institutions, this dissertation demonstrates that a number of prominent black intellectuals and activists instead argued for black sponsorship of black literacy and pursued such sponsorship as a political strategy to advance the goals of the civil rights movement. As such, this project contributes to the body of alternative historiography in rhetoric and composition that examines sites of literacy instruction located in the “extracurriculum” of composition, including the Council of Federated Organization’s Mississippi Freedom Schools of 1964 and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference’s Summer Community Organization and Political Education Project of 1964.