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Reframing the Victim: Rhetoric for Segregation in the Greenville News

  • Jennifer E. M. Hill Furman University


Most of the scholarly work on the rhetoric of the civil rights movement has focused on the speeches, writing, and actions of African-American protestors who fought against segregation and to gain equal rights or on violent physical responses by whites to the actions of African-American protestors. Much less research and writing have focused on examining the local spoken or written responses to the grassroots-level agitation of marches and sit-ins. This work helps to fill that gap by identifying the core rhetorical strategy used by Wayne C. Freeman, editor of the Greenville News, in editorials defending segregation in 1960. This essay expands upon the idea of a rhetoric of “victimage,” as put forward by Kenneth Burke and Friedrich Nietzsche, to show how Freeman reframed white southerners as victims of slander, discrimination, and violence in order to justify continued resistance to integration.

Author Biography

Jennifer E. M. Hill, Furman University

Jennifer E. M. Hill graduated summa cum laude from Furman University in May 2011 with degrees in Political Science and Communications Studies. She currently works at a small hightech company in Redmond, Washington. Jennifer’s research interests include social stratification and inequality, and she plans to pursue a graduate degree starting in fall 2012.

How to Cite
Hill, J. E. M. (2015). Reframing the Victim: Rhetoric for Segregation in the Greenville News. Young Scholars in Writing, 9, 45-57. Retrieved from